The Role of Retailers and Distributors during your Solar Install
Energy Retailers and Distributors play a role during your Solar Installation
During your solar installation, you’ll often hear us talk about your retailer and distributor, but who are they?
The retailer buys energy from a generator, like a power plant, and then sells it to their customers. You usually sign up with one in order to be supplied with power at your property.
The distributor is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure that provides you with energy. This includes the wires, power poles and the meters. You don’t have a choice with what distributor you have, it’s all dependant on your state and location. You can find which distributor you have by looking at your NMI and comparing with the list at AEMO or by using Origin’s handy tool: Origin Energy Tool.
After we receive the deposit for your system and before we can complete the install, we have to notify your distributor that we’re adding an energy generator at your property. If they accept our application, they will provide us with a Permission to Connect (PTC) letter which gives us the go ahead to install.
Solar System that produces more energy
If your system produces more energy than your house uses, the excess will flow back into the grid which can cause issues in your local power grid if too many houses also start exporting. This means that distributors have to limit the amount a house can export. For 1 phase properties, Endeavour Energy limits exported power to 5 kW export and Ausgrid to 10 kW export. If your inverter can produce more than this limit, then we’ll need to add a smart meter that can limit the export amount.
After the installation is complete and we receive full payment, we will notify your retailer that your property has a solar system, they will then raise a service order with your distributor to install a digital meter like what is shown below if you already do not have one. The retailer will also modify your electricity bill to include a Feed-In-Tariff. This is the price they will pay for the energy you send back to the grid. The amount varies on company and location but you can expect anything between 4 and 15 cents per kilowatt hour.
Usually you can expect this the whole process to take around 2-3 weeks after the install is complete although it can be done much faster if your property already has a smart meter installed. But there is no need to worry about losing energy as your system will already be on and producing power for you property as soon as it is installed. Only your excess energy will not be counted until the service order is finished.