At United Energy we manage your local electricity network – moving power to and from homes – so it’s part of our job to help households export their excess solar power back into our network.
If you’re exploring rooftop solar for your home, you’ll hear from us early in your project as we need to review and approve how much you can export. This lets us know how much power is flowing through our network at all times to provide a reliable service – it’s a fine art balancing power flowing from both large-scale generators and private solar systems.
Choosing the right solar system for your home is no easy feat. We want to provide you with some essential knowledge before you decide what you want and who will install it, so you can get the most from your system now and in the future.
Getting value out of your solar
Getting the most value from your solar system is all about self-consumption. That’s when you use electrical appliances throughout the day while your solar system is generating energy.
Exporting excess power and getting some money for it via feed-in-tariffs can be a bonus. But these days the feed-in-tariff you’re likely to receive from your retailer is nothing in comparison to the price you’ll pay them in the evenings to buy back electricity from the grid.
If you can shift some of your evening power use into the daylight hours – you’ll benefit from huge savings. There’s now a lot of technology that can help you set appliances to run throughout the day to support you to get the most value from your solar investment.
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to solar and a larger system won’t necessarily give you a better return. Make sure you ask the right questions of your installer and retailer to help you save time and money, and so you get the full benefits of your investment in the long run.
Solar enablement program
We’re upgrading the local electricity network so more households can export excess solar to share.
Your 5 steps to solar success
- 01Choose an accredited installer
Make sure your installer is accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) to ensure they comply to service standards.
- 02Check before you connect
We want to help you to export the amount of excess solar you’re looking for. However, this may not be possible depending on the capacity of the network in your neighbourhood. This won’t stop you from installing solar for your own consumption. But it might make a difference to the size of the system you contract.
Before signing a contract to purchase a system, make sure your installer has lodged a solar pre-approval application with us through myEnergy portal.
United Energy has launched a new online connection application service. As part of this change, United Energy is launching a new mandatory pre-approval service for micro embedded generation systems (including rooftop solar and batteries) for systems up to 30kVA total inverter capacity at the premises.
Pre-approval requests can be submitted on our online connection application service by customers or their representatives, including solar retailers, accredited solar installers, RECs or LEWs.
We aim to accommodate the export limits requested by most customers. But sometimes, this may not be possible due to network constraints in the customer’s neighbourhood. It doesn’t stop them from installing solar for their own self-consumption, however it might make a difference to the size of the system they connect.
It will be quick and easy to apply for, with an outcome received within minutes. It will also:
- ensure solar exports are fairly and equitably available to all customers
- ensure customers, solar retailers, accredited installers, Registered Electrical Contractors (RECs), Licensed Electrical Workers (LEWs) are better informed about network conditions to inform solar system selection
- improve customer experience with their solar systems by reducing system outages and improving power quality
- help maintain voltage compliance for all customers in their neighbourhood
Other benefits include:
- built in validations with Clean Energy Council approved device lists and DERR information to help applicants meet compliance requirements and improve submission accuracy
- customers, applicants and up to three additional contacts can receive a copy of the pre-approval outcome via email
- post approval, information will be sent to customers and their representatives to help understand the costs, benefits, and technical requirements for installing their solar system
- where the approval outcome is lower than applied for, or export is presently unavailable due to network constraints, when network capacity becomes available UE will send applicants an email inviting them to reapply for pre-approval
- up to 120 days post approval to complete installation and submit an alteration request
Please make sure that your details are up-to-date with your Retailer, that way, we can keep you both informed of the outcome of the assessment.
Please note, any applications that were submitted prior to the introduction of our new online connection application service will continue to be processed using current processes until completed. There is no need to re-apply for pre-approval for these applications.
RECs/LEWs or accredited solar installers need to advise United Energy of any embedded generation system installation by:
- submitting an alteration request on the new online connection application service
- referencing the previously obtained pre-approval number
- providing details of the embedded generation systems
- providing a Certificate of Electrical Safety
- providing embedded generation system details to send to AEMO’s DER Register
Click here to register for United Energy’s online connection application service.
To assist you with navigating the new service, we have created supporting materials, which can be found here.
- 03Check your settings
Make sure you have the right inverter with the right settings. This is something you need to make sure your installer does. All inverters installed within the United Energy network will require ‘Australia A’ settings for protection and response modes.
A smart inverter has power quality response mode settings, like ‘Volt-Watt’ and ‘Volt-Var’. That means it makes sure your system doesn’t trip off when the power voltage fluctuates. Otherwise, when trips happen, your system will no longer generate power for your home or for export.
It’s essential to ensure your installer specifies the need for a smart inverter and that your installer confirms the settings have been applied and turned on when the system is connected.
If you'd like more information on which settings to have applied, take a look at the Model Standing Offer document.
- 04Review your contract
Your installer will submit a contract with us on your behalf, letting us know your system is installed and has the correct smart inverter settings working. This contract is known as a ‘Model Standing Offer’ and will register your solar connection with us.
If we don’t know you’re connected, you won’t be able to receive the feed-in tariffs you may be expecting, and we won’t be able to tell if there are issues with your connection.
- 05Maintain your solar panels
Once your system has been installed, there are two main things you’ll need to do each year to maintain your solar panels and make sure they are working efficiently.
The first is to keep them clean. You should remove any build-up of dirt and grime. The second is to make sure you follow the regular maintenance schedule that your installer will provide. This will ensure your system is operating correctly and safely.
To help you on your journey
We’re proud members of the Clean Energy Council who represent and work with Australia’s leading renewable energy and energy storage businesses and rooftop solar installers. They have a range of information available for consumers about buying solar, including handy guides and tools to find a solar retailer or installer in your area.
Other helpful information is available through:
MSO for Basic Connection with Micro Embedded Generation
This contract is required connecting a solar system (or another type of embedded generator) that is also subject to your pre-approval outcome.
REC Installer FAQs 2022 UE
REC and solar installer frequently asked questions for pre-approvals for solar, electric vehicle charging units and small-scale batteries.