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  • Rikki Lambert

A bad trip for SA PV solar owners with no compensation in sight

The downing of a critical tower at Tailem Bend took South Australia out of the national energy grid, with energy market operators unwilling to commit to any compensation for household photovoltaic solar owners whose systems were being tripped off to protect the state grid.

Saturday's storm including over 400,000 lighting strikes saw an Electranet tower brought down and whilst a temporary replacement is expected to be up by the weekend, in the meantime the Australian Energy Market Operator has directed steps be ensure energy levels are stable.

Whilst large scale renewable energy operators were being looked at to curtail their energy output and the state government volunteered to reduce its output, SA Power Networks were sending energy surges to households to deactivate rooftop PV systems.

Flow's efforts to learn from AEMO, SAPN or the state government as to whether households would be compensated revealed no mechanism exists to do so, nor does there appear to be any will to do so.

Households with deactivated PV systems will not be exporting electricity to the grid and thereby will get no feed-in tariff in their credit.

Flow understands that those systems that were deactivated would be re-activated automatically without manual action by owners when the network was ready for them to come back online.

SA Power Networks say they have deactivated systems in compliance with AEMO's direction to take steps to protect the SA energy network.

AEMO has indicated the major system improvement to prevent such an incident happening again is the Project Energy Connect interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales. The project would enable energy to continue to be exported and thereby no curtailing of renewable output in the event one interconnector is brought down again.

State opposition leader David Speirs said on Wednesday:

“South Australians need to know the lights will stay on and businesses that their freezers and fridges will keep running despite damage to the interconnector.
“Christmas is just around the corner and businesses have copped a major blow in the lead up to the festive season with stock worth of tens of thousands of dollars just thrown in the bin.”


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