Emergency backstop for minimum demand events

Network planning & projectsEmergency backstop for minimum demand events

As more Victorians install rooftop solar, we are changing the way we operate our network. From 1 October 2024, new and upgraded rooftop solar systems (with less than 200kVA of capacity) will be able to be remotely reduced or stopped if there is an excess of energy in the network.

Our customers’ desire for a cleaner energy future has resulted in one of the largest uptakes of rooftop solar in Australia.

During the day, all that solar provides abundant, low-cost energy for all consumers. But on occasions when demand for energy is low, this abundance can create imbalances in the electricity network (know as minimum demand events).

To manage the risk of these events, the Victorian Government is requiring CitiPower and Powercor to develop new ways to manage exports from rooftop solar systems

This capability (known as an emergency backstop) is being introduced in two stages. Stage 1 was activated in October 2023 for systems larger than 200kVA. Stage 2 will apply on our networks from 1 October 2024 and cover systems up to 200kVA.

This will help us to provide a secure, reliable supply of energy to all customers and allow more renewable energy to connect to the network.

What this means

From 1 October 2024, new and upgrading solar customers will be required to install a system that allows solar exports to be remotely reduced or stopped (known as curtailment) if there is an excess of energy in the network.

The changes only apply to customers installing, upgrading or replacing solar systems (with capacity of 200kVA or less) from 1 October. Existing solar customers will not be affected unless they upgrade their current system.

We will activate technology to allow exports from solar systems to be remotely reduced or stopped if there is excess energy in the network. This will require new solar customers to install an internet-connected solar inverter and provide a stable internet connection.

The capability to reduce solar exports will only be used under direction from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) when there are imbalances in the network. In these rare events, we will initially reduce solar exports so customers can continue to self-consume the electricity they generate. If the grid is still not secure, we may turn off solar generation for short periods, but only ever as a last resort.

What you need to know

Meeting the new government requirements will require some changes to the processes that customers, solar installers and equipment manufacturers follow. More specific information about what you can expect, see the below frequently asked questions.

General FAQs

Why are you changing the way solar exports are managed?

The Victorian Government is requiring electricity distribution businesses to be able to remotely reduce or stop exports from new rooftop solar connections. To comply with the government’s requirements, we are developing technology that will change the way solar customers are connected to our networks.

The changes will help to manage rare occasions when solar generation is high and demand for energy is low, which can result in supply interruptions across the power network. This will ensure we can provide a reliable, stable supply of power to all customers and connect more renewable energy to the network.

These excess energy events can supply interruptions, so we are developing a new way to temporarily reduce or stop exports from solar homes when requested by the AEMO.

Solar customer FAQs

Will I be affected by the change?

The change will only apply to new solar inverters (with a capacity of less than 200kVA) connected to systems after 1 October 2024. This includes newly installed solar systems, upgraded systems and some existing systems that have a replacement inverter installed.

Applications to connect solar that are made before 1 October will be unaffected.

Solar installer FAQs

Will the new requirements change the solar installation process?

Yes, there will some changes to the way rooftop solar is installed and configured. From 1 October, new solar installers must ensure:

  • A compatible inverter is installed: this allows the export and generation from the inverter to be remotely managed.
  • There is a reliable internet connection: this ensures the distribution businesses can communicate with the inverter.
  • They undertake a commissioning process: this will ensure the solar generation can be turned down or switched off in an emergency.

Information and training will be available to solar installers before the new requirements are activated. We are currently updating our systems and will provide information about how to access these resources in the weeks ahead.