Solar, batteries and embedded generation

Choosing a solar system

If you are considering investing in solar panels, check the information below to help you choose the right system and installer for your needs.

Solar panels on Australian roof

Is a solar and/or battery system right for you?

Individual circumstances, such as how much electricity you use and when you use it, will determine whether a solar and/or battery system makes sense for you. Your solar retailer or accredited installer can help you assess your requirements. Below are some things you should discuss with your solar retailer.

How much solar and/or battery can I connect?

Up to 10kW (total inverter nameplate rating) per phase may be approved via our streamlined approvals process. Above 10kW per phase may be approved following technical review. For more information see 'Connecting solar or small generators'.

What to be aware of when purchasing a solar system

Doing your research and getting quotes

It pays to do research when you are considering which solar installer to use. You should aim to get at least three quotes and read other consumer reviews. We also recommend that you use an installer who:

  • is part of the New Energy Tech Approved Seller program which commits to fair, transparent and quality service when providing new energy tech.
  • are accredited by the Clean Energy Council. You can find approved installers on the Clean Energy Council website.
  • can provide you with evidence that your new solar panels have been validated as genuine under the Clean Energy Regulator scheme and meet Australian Standards; and
  • has provided both manufacturer’s and installation warranties. Your solar installer will have warranties for the installation and provide details on a future maintenance schedule for your system. The manufacturer’s warranty will cover system faults.

Your roof

How suitable is your roof for solar installation? Consider:

  • if your roof is in reasonable condition
  • if it is structurally sound
  • if there is any shading that may affect the performance of the solar panel installation
  • how you can optimise the orientation of panels on your roof for maximum solar production at times you can use it.

Your usage 

The way you use your electricity will make the most significant impact on the size of your solar system and your investment return. Remember, it’s never too late to adopt new electricity usage habits. Talk to your solar retailer or installer about your usage patterns, including the times of your usage and foreseeable future electricity loads such as batteries or electric vehicles.

Consider adding a battery

If you are planning to install solar or have an existing solar installation, you should also consider whether installing a battery suits your energy requirements. As solar becomes more popular, there is an increasing trend in excess solar power production during the middle of the day when consumer demand is low. This is causing the financial incentives for solar exports to decrease due to the low wholesale electricity price during the middle of the day.

To maximise the return on your solar investment, it is recommended that you try to use your high energy appliances (such as washing machines and dishwashers) whilst you are producing maximum solar power rather than using grid power for those appliances during the evening.

If you have a limited ability to use the power your solar generates during the day, a battery system can allow you to store your solar power until you are able to use it. There are various solar/battery combination products that are tailored to meet different needs and budgets. We recommend you contact a New Energy Tech Approved Seller and discuss which options are best for you.

Backup power

Some battery inverter models offer the ability to disconnect all or part of your installation from the grid during power outages and then provide electricity to your appliances using the stored power in the battery. If reliability is important to you, please discuss multi-mode inverter arrangements with your installer.

Your Electricity Retail Plan

Electricity Retailers offer various solar feed-in tariffs and consumption pricing options; we recommend you discuss these options with your New Energy Tech Approved Seller or Accredited Solar Installer to help get the most out of your new solar and your electricity usage patterns. Energy Made Easy is a website that allows you to search energy plans based on your location and needs.

Safety and Maintenance

Safety - It is important that you use a Clean Energy Council accredited installer and that you receive a copy of the Certificate of Compliance for Electrical Work (CCEW) from the installer as a record that the appropriate electrical safety testing has taken place. It is also important that your installer submits a copy of the CCEW so we know the installation is complete and we can register the site as feeding solar power into the grid.

Maintenance - Ausgrid recommends engaging a qualified tradesperson to carry out regular maintenance on any solar and/or battery installation. Your installer should provide you with a warranty and maintenance schedule. Visit the Clean Energy Council for more information on solar maintenance and warranties. 

If you are having trouble with an existing solar and/or battery system, check the information in the ‘Support for an existing solar and battery system’ section.

Solar exports to the grid

Currently Ausgrid is not prescribing any solar export limits on installations with a total up to 10kW per phase. Applications exceeding 10kW per phase are assessed on a site-specific basis with any site-specific export limits communicated via our connection offer. Please note that your retailer may require the export limiting of your system.  You should discuss these limits with your retailer. It is also important to understand other factors that impact exports. Export limits may need to be prescribed by Ausgrid for larger installations of greater than 30kW. For this reason, Ausgrid does not guarantee solar exports.

For more information, please see 'Information for Installers'.
If you have having trouble with an existing installation and exporting to the grid, please see the ‘Support for an existing solar and battery system’ section.

Government solar initiatives

You may be eligible for federal and state solar rebates which can help reduce the cost of purchasing and installing a solar and/or battery system. The majority of system owners choose to assign the right to small-scale technology certificates to a registered agent (e.g., your installer) in return for a comparable discount on the system. 

You can find a list of current rebates on the website and additional information on The Clean Energy Regulator Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme.