Should solar owners pay to supply the grid, or are there other options? Here's what you need to know

30 March 2021

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) last week announced that Australians could soon be charged for exporting solar to the grid to help cope with electricity "traffic jams".

So, what are these jams and is charging solar owners the only option to fix the problem?

What are electricity traffic jams?

Australia's electricity grid has traditionally operated on a one-way power delivery system, where big energy generators like coal-fired power and hydroelectric plants deliver electricity via poles and wires to homes and businesses.

But with the uptake of rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV), electricity is now not only being taken from the grid to the home, but is also being injected back into the grid.

This is fine up to a point, but if too much power is put into the grid it can push the voltage too high, according to electrical and information engineer Gregor Verbic from the University of Sydney.

This is already starting to happen in some places where there has been a lot of solar PV uptake.

"When you feed more power into the grid than is used, this can raise voltages in the network," Associate Professor Verbic said.

Read the full article on the ABC News website, featuring Dr Marnie Shaw