Solar Export Limiting – Everything You Need to Know

Solar Export Limiting – Everything You Need to Know

Just when you think you understand solar, along comes a brand new concept that changes everything. Today’s example is solar export limiting — something you may have heard of before but, if not, is important to get familiar with.

Solar export limiting is a key concept because it impacts the amount of energy you’re able to return to the electrical grid in exchange for compensation. It also affects how large your solar panel system can be.

In this article, we’ll show you what solar export limiting is, how it works, and how it affects you personally.

Homes in Australia that use solar power have a limit on the amount of energy they can transmit into the electrical grid. This limit varies according to your location, but it’s typically somewhere around 5 kiloWatts. Once you reach that limit, you can’t transmit any more energy into the grid.

Why is this restriction in place? Solar panels, especially in sunny regions like Queensland, often produce more energy during the sunniest periods than the household can use. If you don’t have a solar battery installed, that energy will go to waste — unless you return it to the electrical grid in exchange for a feed-in tariff.

The problem is that as more and more homes started using solar, the national power grid began receiving huge surges of energy during peak hours. This resulted in power surges, power outages, and other complications for the electrical grid, forcing energy retailers to take action in the form of solar export limits.

A major issue for solar customers here is that the 5kW limit makes it difficult to upgrade your solar system to a bigger size. That’s where export limiting comes in — if you want to increase the size of your solar system and have an inverter that’s bigger than 5kW, you’ll have to export limit your inverter. Let’s dive into that idea a little deeper.

Solar export limiting is, ultimately, a necessary idea. It protects the grid from all the above issues and ensures everyone has access to reliable, consistent, and safe electricity. But on top of that, there are several reasons why solar export limiting can benefit you.

Because solar export limiting your inverter permits you to have a larger solar system in your home, you can take a big step towards energy independence, renewable power, and a more sustainable future. Plus, if you have a solar battery, you can save your excess energy and use it when sunlight is scarce, which is arguably more useful long-term than simply selling it back to the grid.

By this point, you probably have some concerns about solar export limiting.

For example, solar export limiting means wasting energy. If you’re unable to export more than a certain amount of energy to the grid (and in some areas, it’s zero) that means everything else simply goes to waste. Not a good feeling, when you’ve paid for solar panels.

However — we think this is simply all the more reason to invest in your own solar batteries and take even greater control of your energy needs in the long-term.

One of the key things to know about solar export limiting is that it works differently according to your location within Australia.

If you live in Queensland, your export limit depends on the type of solar panel system you have:

  • If you have a single-phase system, you’re limited to 5 kW of inverter capacity. However, if you install an export-limited solar inverter your limit increases to 10 kW.
  • For three-phase systems, you’ll be able to increase your limit to 15 kW if you install an export-limited inverter.

The exception to this is South East Queensland, where you need special permission from Energex to install any export limited inverter over 15kW.

Solar export limits ensure that everyone has access to a reliable, safe, and sufficient supply of energy at all times. If you want to expand the size of your solar system — something everyone should eventually be considering as we move towards an increasingly renewable world — you’ll need to export limit your solar inverters.

At Snap Solar, we can help you through this process. We help businesses and households in Mackay, Queensland figure out the best solar strategy for their needs, and we can help you do the same. We’ll show you exactly how export limiting works, outline the best approach for your specific needs, and help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us to find out more.

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