Solar Analytics has teamed up with Sungrow to provide smart inverter solutions that comply with South Australian regulations and protocols for new solar power systems.
As part of the SA Governmentâ€™s controversial Smarter Homes strategy, SA Power Networks (SAPN) has been authorised to remotely and temporarily shut down solar power systems in â€śrare circumstancesâ€ť when the grid is overloaded with solar energy exports. SAPN has already been carrying out testing in some areas by increasing network voltage to knock inverters offline temporarily â€“ leaving affected solar owners confused as to what was happening with their systems.
In practice, this approach will be a last resort measure. There are alternative ways to remotely disconnect systems, including via a contactor added to a smart meter, other third party hardware designed for the job or inverter API control; with the latter being the most elegant way to go about given the options it provides.
As part of remote disconnect and reconnect, owners of new systems will need to declare a â€śRelevant Agentâ€ť who will have the authority to remotely shut down/prevent exports when required to by SAPN or the Australian Energy Market Operator. A full list of Relevant Agents can be accessed via this page and among the companies is solar monitoring firm Solar Analytics.
Additionally, from September 28, new inverters connected to the grid need to be verified as able to remain in continuous operation during brief undervoltage disturbances â€“ this feature is known as Low Voltage Ride-Through (LVRT). At the time of writing, selected inverter models from 11 brands now comply. To access the most up-to-date list, click here and scroll down to â€ślist of approved invertersâ€ť.Â Among the brands with compliant inverters is Sungrow.
Solar Analytics announced last week it had partnered with Sungrow on remote smart inverter control, and technology from the two companies combined offer LVRT, Relevant Agent and Dynamic Export functionality. Requirements for the latter, which involves active control of the inverter (not just switching it off or on), are still being nutted out and will be implemented from July 2021 as part of the SA Governmentâ€™s Smarter Homes push.
â€śTechnically we use the inverter internet connection (WiFi, ethernet or 4G) to enable Solar Analytics to actively manage the inverter export limit settings via the cloud (API),â€ť states Solar Analytics. â€śSolar Analytics will receive and act on the required control signals from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and South Australian Power Networks (SAPN).â€ť
The good news is Solar Analytics wonâ€™t have to totally shut down systems when it gets a â€śremote disconnectâ€ť order from the powers-that-be. It will just prevent inverters from exporting during the disconnect period, leaving the household with the ability to continue to self-consuming solar electricity generated on-site.
To take advantage of all this, Sungrow inverters will need Sungrowâ€™s consumption meter and communications hardware to enable connectivity. In addition to performance monitoring services to suit different budgets, Solar Analytics also has a â€śRelevant Agent Serviceâ€ť package where Solar Analytics will only enact all required instructions for system control, for a one-off fee ofÂ $60 inc. GST per inverter.
Further information on the smart inverter control solution, along with pricing and process, can be found here and here. Note that these documents have been developed primarily for solar retailers and installers in mind â€“ Solar Analytics will be releasing information geared towards system owners soon.