Solar and other generation


Solar and Other Generation Systems

The sections below provide more information regarding embedded generation (eg solar, batteries, wind, etc) and how to connect to the UE network.

What is an embedded generator?

An Embedded Generator is a device that converts a form of energy (such as wind, solar etc) into electricity and is connected to our network. This generated electricity can then be used to power your home and any excess is exported on to our network.

How does Solar work?

Solar panels (or solar PV) on the roof of your home or business converts energy from the sun into electricity. When the sun is shining, your panels are converting the sun’s energy into electricity that you can use. At night or when it’s cloudy, you draw the electricity you need from our network. Solar panels are normally connected to an inverter which coverts electricity for your home and our network.

How does Battery Storage work?

Batteries allow excess electrical energy to be stored at a premise. At a later time, they can then provide this energy back to you or our network as electricity. For example, instead of exporting excess electricity produced by a solar generator (panels and inverter) on to our network, it is used to charge your battery. When the solar generator is not producing electricity in the evening, the battery provides the stored excess electricity back to you and our network. United Energy considers battery storage to be a form of generation and therefore is included in the total generation capacity for the premises.

What is the difference between a Micro Embedded Generator and Embedded Generator connection?

A Micro Embedded Generator is a sub-classification of Embedded Generator.

Most residential solar and battery applications fall into the Micro Embedded Generator category. Any application which does not meet the Micro Embedded Generation criteria will be assessed under the Embedded Generation process.

To help clarify these definitions, we have provided a comparison:

  Basic Micro Embedded Generation Negotiated Embedded Generation
Energy Source Typically solar, but other sources such as battery, wind, fuel cell, etc. Fossil fuel, solar, hydro, wind, battery, etc
Generator Type AS4777 compliant inverter For inverter based LV generation up to 200kVA, AS4777 compliant inverters are required. All other generator types are subject to negotiation with UE.
Total Capacity on premises (kVA) Up to the maximum rating of the main circuit breaker and total capactiy of ≤ 30kVA Dependent of network constraints at point of connection
Export limit (kW) 10kW/phase for all other connections5kW/phase for SWER connections Dependent on network constraints at point of connection
Connection Service Basic Connection Negotiated Connection
Example Connections Residential Solar/Battery Commercial Scale Solar
Technical Requirements Refer to UE-ST-2008.1 Visit our Negotiated EG Connections webpage
How to apply Go to Basic Connections Visit our Negotiated EG Connections webpage
Application process Refer to UE-PR-2008 Refer to UE-PR-2008
Information for installers Visit our Information for Installers webpage Visit our Negotiated EG Connections webpage

Please note UE does not provide standard connection services (as defined in the NER) for any generation connection.

Maintenance of your solar system

Installing solar on your home or business is one of the many ways you can take control of your electricity use and reduce your bill. Installing solar comes with many benefits but the efficiency of your solar PV system can degrade over time.

It is important to maintain your system to make sure that you are getting the most out of your investment. Regular maintenance checks can help ensure your installation meets safety requirements and is operating efficiently.

We suggest you organise these through a registered electrical contractor or your installer. The dustier your area, the more frequent inspection is recommended. This ensures that dirt, grime, bird droppings and debris do not block the sun from efficient absorption by the panels.

It is important that you understand your obligations. Under the Electricity Distribution Code owners of small embedded generators must comply with the code under its generation license.

  • Ensure that your generating source is capable of continuous uninterrupted operation at the system frequency of 50 Hz (or within any allowable variation that applies).
  • Ensure that your generating source and any associated equipment that is connected to the electricity network complies with Victoria’s Electricity Distribution Code, the Electricity Safety Act 1998 and all relevant Australian Standards and is maintained in a safe condition.
  • Ensure that your generating source’s electrical protection device meets the requirements of our electricity distribution system at all times. All grid interactive solar inverters which are connected to the United Energy network have to comply with AS4777 Australian Standard.

To help you understand and meet these obligations, we recommend the Clean Energy Council’s Guide to Installing PV for Households, which contains a section on maintenance on page 20.

Demand Response Opportunities

The UE network is built to satisfy the peak demand for electricity which only occurs for a few hours on a few days each year. This requires substantial investment to fulfil a need that only occurs much less than 1% of the time.

Customers who can control and limit their demand at these critical times or can generate electricity at these times, can assist UE manage the peak demand and potentially avoid the need for expensive augmentation works.

We welcome approaches from organisations that are able to offer alternative solutions to meeting this peak demand in the form of demand response initiatives. Customers can benefit from participating in demand management programmes.

For more information regarding potential opportunities and benefits, please email us at customerresolution@ue.com.au.

Endorsement for wholesale demand response

A new wholesale demand response mechanism has been introduced into the National Electricity Market. A person needs to be registered with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) as a demand response service provider (DRSP) to aggregate two or more wholesale demand response units (WDRU) for the purposes of providing demand response by reducing load or exporting behind the meter generation.

To approve an aggregation of WDRUs, AEMO must be satisfied that power system security will not be materially affected by the proposed aggregation.  Our endorsement will be used to help AEMO with this assessment.

Our endorsement is required where a DRSP’s proposed aggregation would:

  • add one or more WDRUs to an aggregated dispatchable unit identifier; and
  • includes WDRUs at or behind a single transmission node with an aggregate maximum responsive component of 5 MW or greater.

To obtain our endorsement, please complete the wholesale demand response endorsement application form and return to Planning@ue.com.au.

We will use best endeavours to provide our endorsement within 25 business days. Our assessment will commence once we have received all necessary information together with the payment of the fee. An invoice for the fee will be issued after we receive your application.