'In the country with the highest uptake of rooftop solar, and in the state with
the highest rate of solar panel ownership, lies the coastal suburb of Hallett
Even by South Australian standards, it has a lot of panels. When the sun rises
over the Adelaide Hills, its light falls upon a sea of photovoltaic cells,
ready to absorb photons and create electricity.
But all this energy generation has created a problem, one that's hard to see
but has far-reaching consequences.
So much electricity is being exported by solar panels to the local grid that it
can sometimes overwhelm this network's capacity.
This "congestion" would usually result in a lower-than-usual cap on the amount
of electricity households can export.
But about 18 months ago, the statewide electricity distributor, SA Power
Networks (SAPN), trialled an alternative.
In a few suburbs, including Hallett Cove, it allowed participating households
to export up to six times the rate of other houses, but with one important
If the local network became congested, SAPN had permission to scale back a
household's rate of export.
Basically, participating households gave the network limited control over their
own generation assets, in exchange for being able to export more, on average.
This technology is called "flexible export limits" and if you haven't heard of
it yet, you probably will soon.'
Share and enjoy,
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics