The record uptake of subsidised rooftop solar power into homes and businesses in some areas is beginning to affect grid power quality and forcing policymakers to consider the unthinkable – the need to curtail flows of solar power into the grid.
The grid hasn't kept pace with the explosion of homeowners wanting to export surplus energy back into the grid, setting up a two-way flow the centralised networks weren't designed for and reducing power quality.
Poor power quality might mean that lights flicker or dim when an energy-hungry appliance like a pool pump is switched on. Surplus wind and solar power can also turn wholesale electricity prices negative, forcing high cost generators out of the market.
Solar rooftop installations hit another record in August, with 142 megawatts of small-scale residential and commercial systems coming on line, data from Sunwiz, a consultancy, shows. That lifted the total for the year to date to 974 MW, which is 49 per cent more than the same stage last year and not far shy of the full year record of just under 1100 MW in 2017.
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