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Technical solution to allow more residential rooftop solar

Minister for Energy Bill Johnston released the following media statement today:

  • New rules for rooftop solar panels installed or upgraded from 14 February 2022
  • Increasing rise in rooftop solar panels creating challenges for power grid
  • McGowan Government acting now to ensure a stable and reliable power supply

The McGowan Government is introducing a technical solution that will enable the continued uptake of rooftop solar panels on Western Australian homes and avoid blackouts.

The energy collectively generated by residential solar panels in the South West Interconnected System is more than the amount generated by WA’s largest power station.

This unmanaged energy puts residential power supply at risk on mild sunny days when rooftop solar generation is high and demand from the system is low.

From February 14, 2022, new or upgraded solar panels will be installed with the capability to be remotely turned off, for short periods, when demand for electricity reaches a critically low level.

Remotely switching off solar panels will be used as a last resort to prevent widespread power interruptions and is expected to occur a few times a year for a few hours. This won’t affect the resident’s power supply.

Power stations will be turned down first with rooftop residential solar the last to be impacted.

The measure, which will not affect homes with existing solar panels, will allow the continued uptake of solar panels without increasing costs.

Guidelines will be released on Thursday outlining export limits for systems larger than 5 kilowatts inverter capacity, so customers with higher energy consumption can install larger systems. See Low Load Response - Distributed Photovoltaic Management for more information.

For more information on the State Government’s energy roadmap and how we’re working towards a brighter energy future, visit brighterenergyfuture.wa.gov.au

Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston

"Rooftop solar is integral to the renewable energy future of our State so we're adapting our system to meet those requirements.

"This new measure means we can continue supporting the uptake of residential solar while ensuring electricity is secure and affordable.

"More than 400,000 WA homes and businesses, around 30 per cent, now have rooftop solar connected to WA's main grid with that figure continuing to rapidly grow.

"The Energy Transformation Strategy is planning for a long-term future where rooftop solar, batteries and electric vehicles are at the centre of the WA power system."