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Technology Guidelines

Solar panels with power lines in the background
Solar panels with power lines in the background

The Technology Guidelines outline Solar Victoria’s guiding principles for technology within our programs, ensuring better outcomes for energy users.

About the Technology Guidelines 

The Technology Guidelines outline how we will adopt technology over the life of the Solar Homes and Solar for Business Programs. They are outcomes-focused to ensure safety and quality of installations, optimise integration with the grid, and maximise the benefits of generation through innovation. 

We will put the Technology Guidelines into action through the way we design our solar programs and the mandatory and recommended requirements we set, in consultation with industry, in Solar Victoria’s Notice to Market.     

The Technology Guidelines will help ensure better outcomes for energy users by creating safety and quality benchmarks for program participants that exceed industry standards.  

They detail how our solar programs promote innovation and send longer-term market signals to encourage investment across the wider industry. They show how Distributed Energy Resources (DER) will be integrated into Victoria’s electricity system of the future – acting collectively as the largest single player in the electricity market – while achieving increased solar safety, performance and grid stability.  

The Technology Guidelines acknowledges at times ‘striking the right balance’ between competing stakeholder interests will be required and it aligns with Victoria’s Renewable Energy Roadmap and other Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning initiatives. 

Our priority areas and guiding principles 

The Technology Guidelines commit us to three priority areas and nine guiding principles that will help steer the technology supported by the Solar Homes and Solar for Business Programs, towards smarter energy use and innovation to benefit all Victorians.  

  1. This priority area is about improving the safety and quality of solar products by setting exceptional industry benchmarks. Our guiding principles to achieve this are: 

    Guiding principle 1 – Adopt leading safety and performance specifications: Implementing leading eligibility criteria above industry minimum standards, and leading product warranties for key products such as PV modules, inverters, solar batteries, solar hot water and auxiliary equipment (such as connectors, DC isolators, protection, smoke detectors, earthing and bonding).  

    Guiding principle 2 – Raise the industry benchmark for installations: Full system outcomes considering end-to-end consumer benefits, including raising the bar on installer safety training requirements, mandating compliance to industry leading codes of conduct, and leading work-quality warranty requirements and the promotion of quality assurance frameworks for businesses.  

    Guiding principle 3 – Promote system monitoring to increase consumer outcomes: Promotion of real time monitoring platforms and devices that inform consumers of their energy usage, energy efficiency and behaviours, help premises save on their energy bills, facilitate remote visibility, diagnostics and weather forecasting, and inform when preventative or reactive maintenance is required. 

  2. This priority area is about promoting and enhancing integration of solar systems into the grid. Our guiding principles to achieve this are:  

    Guiding principle 4 – Encourage self-consumption of generated electricity: Shifting the time and usage of electricity at the customer level leads to direct bill savings and collectively provides wider grid benefits such as reducing network peak demand, which in turn puts downwards pressure on network expenditure and its associated passed-on costs for all energy participants.  

    Guiding principle 5 – Support grid performance and stability: Transitioning from passive to active distributed energy resources (DER). DER that helps maintain power system stability including through grid support response modes (Volt/Var, Volt/Watt, Freq/Watt), fault withstand (disturbance ride-through) settings, and Emergency Backstop Capability and others to address wider network challenges.  

    Guiding principle 6 – Promote interoperability through enhanced communications: Future proofing DER by mandating enhanced communications and internet connectivity capabilities. Promoting an industry developed ‘IoT’ approach that standardises interoperability in the Australian context to unlock the latent potential of aggregated/orchestrated DER. 

  3. This priority area is about maximising the integration of solar systems into the grid through innovative solutions. Our guiding principles to achieve this are: 

    Guiding principle 7 – Promote energy market participation: Promotion of virtual power plants (VPPs) and broader aggregation to enable DER to participate in current and future energy markets at scale. Current and future energy markets will provide immense opportunities with emphasis on unlocking new revenue streams and increased consumer outcomes.  

    Guiding principle 8 – Recognise the role and value of data: The secure collection and dissemination of data has benefits not only for consumers but also grid and market operators at all levels. Customer benefits include optimised energy usage and recognising ‘portability’ of data, access considerations, cyber security and consumer protections. Network benefits include increased visibility of the low voltage (LV) network, ability to identify constraint areas, and increased visibility of DER penetration and capacity, helping to improve planning, forecasting and operations.  

    Guiding principle 9 – Investigate innovative system solutions: Solar Victoria acknowledges its responsibility in looking forward towards new developments and initiatives in the dynamic transformation of Australia’s electricity network, such as the impact of Electric Vehicles (EVs/V2G/G2V), de-carbonization through electrification initiatives, unconventional energy storage (e.g. ‘solar soaking’ through hot water services and space heating/cooling), gamification of household energy usage and countless others. 

How we developed the guidelines 

Solar Victoria formally consulted with key internal and external stakeholders in the development of the Technology Guidelines, not limited to:  

We also presented the key concepts of the Technology Guidelines within various industry forums.   

Any feedback? 

We welcome your feedback on the Technology Guidelines to further improve our programs and the shift to cleaner, more affordable energy for Victorians.  

Please email your feedback to enquiries@team.solar.vic.gov.au with “Solar Victoria’s Technology Guidelines” in the subject line.

Reviewed 12 May 2021

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