VIC Emergency Backstop Mechanism For Solar Delayed

Full implementation of a Victorian initiative allowing for rooftop solar power system throttling and shutdown remotely in a grid emergency has been delayed by three months.

The Emergency Backstop Mechanism (EBM) is to do what it says on the tin – act as a last-resort method for avoiding potential blackouts and electricity infrastructure damage in a situation where grid electricity demand is so low and solar exports so high the situation threatens network stability. The EBM could also be used to prevent further infrastructure damage from another event that has already impacted supply, such as severe weather.

How Will The Emergency Backstop Work?

The EBM requirements apply to new or replacement systems, or those where just the inverter has been replaced (unless under warranty like-for-like) from the date they come into force. To see also : Case research on the 30 kW solar system: Stucco Housing Co-op.

The emergency backstop mechanism uses the same technology as flexible/dynamic exports, which can allow system owners to export more solar power more often.

Signals sent from a Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP) to a PV system’s solar inverter underpin EBM functionality. To receive and act on such signals, an inverter must be able to communicate using Common Smart Inverter Profile Australia (CSIP-AUS) and be internet-connected. Where an internet connection isn’t possible, or connectivity lost, a lower limit will be placed on how much surplus solar power a system can export to the grid. A CSIP-AUS compliant inverter is still required even where there is no internet connection.

The first action in an EBM event will see the DNSP reducing or disabling solar exports when directed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to do so. In this scenario, a household will still be able to use their self-generated electricity and have mains grid supply. If network stability issues continue, systems may be turned off for a short duration; but again, mains grid supply will continue. When the event passes, an “all-clear” signal will be sent and normal system operation/exports can resume.

Where possible, a DNSP will notify system owners when an emergency backstop event comes into play. DNSPs are also required to publish a notice on their websites about such events as soon as practicable.

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Revised Emergency Backstop Timeline

Stage 1 of the EBM applied to systems above 200kW capacity and came into effect in October last year. On the same subject : array.

Stage 2 applies to smaller grid-connected systems and was meant to kick off at the beginning of this month. But an update from Victoria’s Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) says DNSPs are experiencing some challenges in implementing certain processes.

“To support a smooth transition to the new requirements, the emergency backstop for small and medium systems will now commence on 1 October 2024.”

However, the deadline for DNSPs to implement utility servers in order to support certified solar system testing remained at 1 July 2024.

While Stage 2 comes into effect on October 1, if you’ve had a solar system installed since March this year under Victoria’s solar panel rebate scheme, it will very likely be CSIP-AUS compliant. That was a new requirement under the Solar Homes program for most systems; to enable support for flexible exports.

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Don’t Fear The Big Red Button

As the name of the initiative suggests, the functionality will only be used in case of emergencies. Remote disconnect/reconnect was implemented across the border in South Australia nearly four years ago. Read also : EVERYTHING ABOUT SOLAR AND THE OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE. It has been used sparingly since and only under extreme conditions; for example, in the aftermath of storms that damaged electricity infrastructure in November 2022.

For further information, see the emergency backstop customer factsheet and guidance for industry.

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