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Strategies to Avoid Future Solar Export Tariffs

Starting July 1st, NSW, ACT, NT, and Victoria will introduce two-way pricing, allowing network companies to charge retailers for energy returned to the grid during peak times. Contrary to alarming headlines, this doesn’t mean you’ll be fined for exporting solar energy. For example, in the Ausgrid area, feed-in rates may drop by 1.2c per kWh from 10am to 3pm, but only if your retailer passes this cost onto you. Currently, this region’s feed-in rates exceed 1.2c per kWh, so residents won’t pay to export energy by July 2025.

While this setup is manageable now, future changes could include negative feed-in tariffs. Fortunately, solar inverters can be adjusted to reduce or stop energy exports when not needed.

 

Ways to Avoid Future Export Charges

  1. Inverters with Export Limitation

    • Most modern inverters can limit the amount of power sent to the grid, including setting it to zero. However, this feature usually requires manual adjustment through the installer portal, making it impractical for frequent changes.
    • Investing in a smart meter and current transformers (CTs) for consumption monitoring is recommended.
  2. Catch Control

    • The Catch Control device diverts excess solar power to high-energy appliances like hot water systems, reducing exports. It can also limit exports for compatible inverters based on a schedule.
    • This device can be configured to respond to new export pricing rules, optimizing solar value.
  3. Dumb Hot Water Timers

    • Simple hot water timers can prevent exports by using solar power during high-tariff periods (e.g., 10am to 3pm). Though not as sophisticated as Catch Control, they are cost-effective.
  4. Energy Management Systems

    • Using open-source home automation software like Home Assistant, you can control solar inverters to limit exports. This approach requires some technical know-how but offers flexibility.
  5. Solar Batteries and EVs

    • Solar batteries and electric vehicles (EVs) are excellent for maximizing self-consumption. Configuring them to charge during the day can significantly reduce exports.
  6. Manual Monitoring and Adjustment

    • Monitor and adjust your energy use throughout the day to avoid peak export times. This method is cost-free but requires constant attention.
  7. East/West Facing Solar Panels

    • Installing panels facing east or west can align solar production with your energy consumption patterns, reducing midday exports.

Conclusion

There are various ways to manage solar exports to avoid future charges. As technology evolves, more integrated solutions are expected to emerge before negative export tariffs take effect.

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