Emergency solar management - solar industry information
To maintain the stability of the electricity system and support the continued installation of rooftop solar, the WA State Government introduced emergency solar management (ESM) – the capability to remotely turn off (and on again) all new and upgraded rooftop solar systems, with an inverter capacity of 5kW or less, from 14 February 2022.
This means that technical requirements for connecting and operating rooftop solar systems to the Western Power distribution network have changed.
There are two ways to remotely manage and turn off rooftop solar systems to meet the Western Power Basic Embedded Generation Connection Technical Requirements for emergency solar management; the API cloud solution or the metering solution.
Installer fact sheet
Further information regarding these solutions is available below and within the downloadable Installer Fact Sheet.
ESM – customer information
Direct your customers to this webpage for more information on emergency solar management, ESM low load event days and general customer FAQs.
- What are the ESM obligations for a solar provider?
You play an important role in the adoption of new technology and the continued support of your customers. Solar providers must ensure their installations and upgrades to existing systems meet the Western Power Basic Embedded Generation Connection Technical Requirements.
Solar providers will also continue to be responsible and the first point of contact for customers for any technical issues regarding their rooftop solar systems and any warranty claims regarding their rooftop solar systems and inverters under the Australian Consumer Law.
- How can I access more support as a solar provider?
Synergy has been working closely with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to support you through the introduction of ESM and the new technical requirements. If you have any further questions on the API cloud solution and inverter technical requirements, we encourage you to reach out to the relevant OEM directly for support.
- How will I know if testing or an ESM low load event day has occurred?
Soon after an ESM low load event day, Synergy will update details onto the yellow banner at the top of the customer webpage here for your awareness.
Synergy will also periodically test that the onsite hardware of a rooftop solar system can be remotely managed to ensure that it meets ESM requirements.
Depending on the manufacturer, a customer may be able to see if their rooftop solar system is operating, either via the system itself or via a third-party app.
- What if one of my customers can’t turn on or reconnect their system after testing or an ESM low load event day?
Synergy will be working closely together with our integration partner, GreenSync, and your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) to ensure customers on the API cloud solution experience a smooth and timely reconnection when their system is remotely managed. If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to the relevant OEM directly for support.
- How can an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) be registered on Synergy’s Supported Devices List?
To be registered on Synergy’s Supported Devices List for the API cloud solution, the OEM must complete a self-assessment checklist (or nominate a technology provider to complete it on their behalf) and have an API Agreement in place with Synergy’s integration partner, GreenSync.
- How does emergency solar management impact life support customers?
Life support customers are still required to follow the standard application and installation process but will not be impacted by emergency solar management. Life support customers will continue to be responsible for ensuring their details and information are up to date.
Rooftop solar installation
- Who does emergency solar management apply to?
Emergency solar management applies to all customers with new and upgraded rooftop solar systems with an inverter capacity of 5kW or less. These customers include:
- residential properties that consume < 50MWh/a
- any customer that is a school, university or other educational institution or a non-profit making organisation
- How is emergency solar management implemented?
There are two ways to remotely manage and turn off rooftop solar systems to meet the Western Power Basic Embedded Generation (EG) Connection Technical Requirements for emergency solar management.
- The API cloud solution uses a software integration - an API (Application Programming Interface) to remotely manage rooftop solar systems. This requires installing a compatible inverter, and the customer maintains a consistent internet service that the inverter is connected to.
- The metering solution requires a meter with communications capability enabled and the inverter isolated so that it can be remotely managed.
- How do I know if the inverter is compatible with the API cloud solution?
You can review the Supported Devices List here for all API cloud solution compliant devices. If you’re still uncertain, please speak to the Original Equipment Manufacturer for further advice.
- How do I successfully commission a compatible inverter with the API cloud solution?
- Ensure the inverter is connected to the customer’s local network (WiFi).
- Ensure the serial number is correct in the Western Power EG Connection Application form.
- Ensure you have selected the correct grid code for Australia Region B (AS/NZS 4777.2:2020) during the commissioning process.
- Ensure you have completed all steps outlined below for the relevant Original Equipment Manufacturer.
- A customer's NMI (National Metering Identifier) can be found on page two of their Synergy bills.
- If you cannot enter all 11 digits of a NMI please enter the first 10 (starting with the number '8').
- If the NMI field is not available in the monitoring portal, please ensure the firmware is the latest version.
Please click the relevant tile below for further instructions by Original Equipment Manufacturer
- What if the inverter isn't on the Supported Devices List?
The inverter may not be compatible with the API cloud solution and may be required to meet the metering solution requirements instead. The Supported Devices List is under frequent and ongoing review, with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) working closely with Synergy’s integration partner, GreenSync, to ensure their devices meet API cloud solution requirements.
- What else should I know about the metering solution?
- Characteristics of the site, such as use of a plug-in meter, or lack of coverage/availability of the mesh network, may make the metering solution unsuitable.
- The metering solution may incur additional costs. For example, in some circumstances, a new meter may need to be installed, or extra wiring may be required to connect the switchboard to the meter.
Please refer to the Western Power website for more details.
- What if my customer can’t meet the requirements for the API cloud solution or the metering solution?
Export limiting will be an option available to customers who can’t meet the API cloud or metering solution requirements but still wish to install a rooftop solar system. Please note that customers who choose this option are not eligible for the Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS) and would not be affected by an emergency solar management event.
Export limiting applications cannot be completed online. To apply, please complete the Distributed Energy Systems Application up to 30kW form.
- What about solar systems that are larger than 5kW?
New or upgraded rooftop solar systems with an inverter capacity greater than 5kW will be subject to export limits to ensure they do not contribute to low load events.
Export limits are set in accordance with Western Power’s Basic Embedded Generator Connection Technical Requirements. Where there is no offtake agreement in place with the retailer, the export limit will be set to no more than 1.5kW.
- If a meter upgrade is required to comply with emergency solar management, is the customer responsible for the costs incurred?
The customer is responsible for any additional costs incurred as a result of a meter upgrade. The API cloud solution is currently expected to provide the best outcome for most customers – it is generally lower cost and aligned to future opportunities for Distributed Energy Resources DER participation.
Battery installation FAQs
- How do AC coupled batteries with 5kW of solar affect export limiting and DEBS?
To be eligible for Distributed Energy Buyback Scheme (DEBS), a renewable energy system must have a generating capacity of 5kW or less. A solar PV system with total solar panel capacity of up to 6.6kW and an inverter capacity of up to 5kW is deemed eligible. There is no eligibility limit in relation to home battery or electric vehicle battery size, but all renewable energy systems and batteries must meet Western Power’s Basic Embedded Generator Connection Technical Requirements for connection to the grid to be eligible for DEBS.
- How does this impact battery installations?
Battery installations from 14 February 2022 are required to meet the requirements for emergency solar management as per Western Power’s Basic Embedded Generation Connection Technical Requirements.
- In the situation where an existing solar system is being upgraded with a battery installation, where the parts of the existing solar system are unchanged during the new installation process, then the existing solar system is not required to meet the new emergency solar management requirements. For example, when adding an AC coupled battery to an existing solar system. However, the battery system must comply with the requirements for ESM.
- In any other battery installation situations, ESM requirements apply to the entire system.
- ESM for battery installations can be achieved by meeting the time of operation for Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) requirements, where all systems with a BESS shall not discharge the BESS between 10am to 3pm and not charge the BESS between 6pm to 9pm. Therefore, these battery installations do not need an API cloud or metering solution for ESM.
- During an ESM low load event day, will households with BESS (Battery Energy Storage System), remain connected, and will generated rooftop solar continue to charge the battery?
Households with a solar system capable of export limiting may continue to charge the BESS. However, provision of the export limiting functionality via a cloud API solution varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Please consult your Original Equipment Manufacturer to find out more.