Flexible Exports - Trial

Across 2021-2023 AusNet ran a trial of flexible exports for residential solar PV. The trial was open to existing and new customers with export constrained connections, and installing solar systems that were compatible with our flexible export strategy.

Since the Trial launched in September 2021, customers have successfully enabled many megawatts of residential rooftop solar energy to be exported back to the grid. This Trial has successfully helped us take another step further towards our vision to enable as much renewable energy on to the network as possible.

As a result of what we learnt during the Trial, AusNet have developed a strategy for operationalising flexible connections. We intend to make this available to any eligible customers within the next twelve months.

For any questions about AusNet’s flexible exports trial, please email flexible_exports_trial@ausnetservices.com.au.

About the trial

After a record-breaking number of installations in 2020, 1 in 4 Australian homes had rooftop solar. The energy being generated by the rapid uptake places stress on the network and an increasing number of customers are having their solar exporting capacity limited.

By taking part in this trial, AusNet customers who had zero, or near zero, export limits were able to receive up to 5kW in flexible exports.

Supporting two-way distribution

The electricity network was designed over 100 years ago. It was built for a one-way flow to transport power into homes and businesses. Rooftop solar exports force a two-way flow which puts stress on the network and causes congestion. To keep our network stable, some customers in congested areas now have low or zero solar export limits.

Flexible exports provides an alternative to these restrictions.

What are flexible exports?

Flexible exports are an alternative to fixed exports, which limit the amount of excess solar that you can export to the grid. Solar flexible exports allow network operators like us to monitor and adjust rooftop solar exports in real time. This method provides more opportunity for Victorian solar customers to export their excess solar without putting pressure on the network.

How did the trial work?

The solar flexible exports trial allowed participating households to export up to 5kW of excess solar energy to the grid. Using smart solar inverters, AusNet balanced customers’ exports against local network supply and demand. By doing this, we can begin to reduce excess strain on the network.

We partnered with SA Power Networks to trial this approach with partial funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Frequently asked questions