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South Australia and solar power


Bobster
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The state of South Australia (SA) recently ran for just over an hour on solar - at mid day, on a clear, sunny day. 77% of the power came from roof top installations as opposed to solar "farms".

Some details I gleaned

  1. SA has one grid operator, multiple power vendors.
  2. Vendors set their own FIT, SA does not set FIT.
  3. There is a large base of domestic solar systems installed, but mostly grid-tied.
  4. What's in it for the vendors? Well, most vendors now in the solar installation game too - or have a pool of approved installers. And they mostly offer a two tier FIT. If they (or an approved installer) provides your solar kit then you get the better FIT (and pay the approved price of installation). If you go it alone or use a non-approved installer then you get a less generous FIT. (I presume they also use this to tie you to them so you don't move to another vendor).
  5. New legislation will require all installations to be controllable by the organisation that controls the grid so that they can disable feed-in if the grid becomes unstable.
  6. SA are going to set up inter connects with neighbouring states so that they can export any surplus they have. This should lessen (but not remove) the need for step (5).
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4 hours ago, Bobster said:

SA are going to set up inter connects with neighbouring states so that they can export any surplus they have. This should lessen (but not remove) the need for step (5).

I'm sure South Australia already has interconnects with neighbouring states Victoria and New South Wales, but I believe that they are upgrading some of those. The whole east coast of Australia (down to the island of Tasmania) is interconnected, and quite a lot of power gets moved around between states. Western Australia and the Northern Territory have their own separate grids (Australia is a big country, about the same area as the contiguous USA but with 6% of the population).

South Australia closed down all their coal fired generating plants years ago. They have some gas generators, but apart from that, they rely on interconnects with other states to supply any shortfall.

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