Kyneton network upgrade boost for solar systems

Rooftop solar systems in the Kyneton district will operate better following an intensive program of works by electricity distributor Powercor over the next two months.
Targeting areas with high levels of rooftop solar penetration, the Solar Hotspots Program will improve export capacity and reduce tripping of solar systems that can otherwise be caused by voltage issues when excess solar is exported into the electricity network.
General manager of electricity networks Mark Clarke said the rate of new applications for solar connections had more than doubled in the past 18 months, resulting in 21 per cent of customers now generating a total of 580MW of electricity.
“In the hotspot areas, greater than one in three homes has solar connected so our program of works is important to helping these customers make the most of their investment,” Mr Clarke said.
“We recognise the future of energy is being driven by customer choices and we have a big role in enabling them.”
Dedicated field crews will be working to increase power network capacity in Kyneton in March and April.
This includes working on the poles and wires to make sure the voltage is well balanced across all powerlines and changing the settings on major transformers in zone substations to reduce the overall voltage levels.
In association with this work, Powercor has also reviewed the technical assessment used to guide export agreements with customers. This has been updated to take into consideration all network upgrades and aims to enable at least 80 per cent of new solar export applications to export 5kW.
Powercor will invite some currently constrained solar customers to apply for a new export agreement.
“We do not prevent customers from installing rooftop solar but we have a responsibility to all our customers to make sure any excess electricity is safely exported into the network,” Mr Clarke said.
Solar exports can affect the quality of power supplied by electricity networks because by injecting electricity, they impact on voltage. This potentially impacts other customers including those without solar.
During the solar hotspot programs, some customers may experience planned outages to allow crews to safely conduct their work. Powercor will directly notify customers well in advance of any planned outages.