Get connected

Find out what's likely to happen between choosing your solar retailer and installer and switching your system on.

From quote to solar switch on!

When you agree on a quote you will also agree on a date for installation, but the process doesn’t start or end on installation day.

There are a series of steps to complete before you can start using your solar electricity including:

  1. any work required on your switchboard or other electrical infrastructure
  2. arranging a connection agreement with your distribution network service provider
  3. installing a smart meter (or configuring an existing one for solar).

Your solar retailer or accredited installer will coordinate this process. The time this takes will depend on the individual arrangements in your area of the electricity grid.

Find space for all solar system components

Discuss with your solar retailer or installer where different components will be installed.

Inverters should be installed close to the switchboard and, if possible, on a shaded wall. Extreme heat will shorten the life of the inverter, so if the only location is in direct sunlight, you may need to add a cover to provide shade.

Batteries have strict installation requirements which limits where you can position them.

Agree to these details before installation to avoid any surprises.

Upgrades and other works

There may be extra electrical work needed on your property, including upgrading or replacing:

  • your meter board (for example, if the existing one contains asbestos)
  • your consumer main, fuse or other wiring
  • your switchboard or fuses.

The cost of this should be clearly stated in your quote and, in most cases, the work should be completed prior to solar installation.

Connection agreement

Before your solar system can connect to the grid, you need an agreement with the distribution network service provider. In most cases, this should be organised by your solar retailer or installer and can take up to 30 business days in some areas.

The connection agreement will include any network limit to the size of the inverter or to the amount of electricity your solar system can export to the grid. Learn more about connection limits.

Your distribution network service provider is the company that owns and operates the electricity grid in your area - the infrastructure, poles and wires that deliver electricity to your home or business. You cannot choose your distribution network service provider.

You’ll find the name of your distribution network service provider under ‘Faults and Emergencies’ on your electricity bill.

You can also find the distributors in each state and territory listed on the Australian Energy Regulator’s website.

Smart meters

If you get solar, you will need a smart meter. In most states and territories, your electricity retailer will install smart meters for free. There may be a charge if the installation includes switchboard upgrades.

Smart meters provide detailed information about how much grid electricity you use and when you use it. The smart meter will automatically send data to your electricity retailer so that a manual meter reading is unnecessary. With solar, a smart meter also monitors how much solar generation is exported to the grid.

This can help you get the most from your solar and save money. It also means you can have an electricity plan with time of use pricing.

In Victoria, most customers already have a smart meter, but it will still need to be configured to work with your solar system.

If you have a smart meter, your electricity data and personal information are protected under the Privacy Act 1988, the National Electricity Law (for jurisdictions other than Western Australia) and the Electricity Industry Act 2004 (WA) (if you live in Western Australia).

Design changes

There may be changes to your rooftop solar and/or battery system design between agreeing to the quote and installation. This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • connection requirements from the distribution network service provider
  • availability of system components
  • more detailed design from your solar retailer or installer
  • a site visit by your solar retailer or installer (if there wasn’t one before the quote).

Make sure any changes to the system, and impacts on cost or solar generation, are communicated in writing, explained and agreed before installation.

Communication is the key to a smooth process

Your solar retailer or installer should keep you informed about progress, including:

  • any changes to the date or details of the installation
  • any changes to the system design, the cost implications and the reasons why
  • who will do any necessary work on your switchboard and when they will do it
  • who will install or configure your smart meter and when they will do it
  • any issues that are delaying the installation process.

Steps to connection

The order of the steps and how long they take vary significantly between different Australian jurisdictions (states, territories and sometimes network areas).

The connection processes for each jurisdiction are as follows:

1. Network connection application

Your solar retailer or installer will lodge this with your distribution network service provider and will need approval before installation of your solar system.

2. System installation

Learn more about what to expect on installation day.

3. Smart meter installation or configuration

This may happen before or (more often) after installation day. Your solar retailer or installer will either complete and lodge an application for you or provide you with guidance to apply for yourself.

4. Switch your system on

Once you receive confirmation that your smart meter is installed and configured, you have the green light to turn your system on! Your solar retailer or installer should let you know what to do and when.

1. Network connection application

Your solar retailer or installer will lodge this with your distribution network service provider and will need approval before installation of your solar system.

2. System installation

Learn more about what to expect on installation day.

3. Inspection

Your installer is required to lodge a Certificate of Electrical Safety to Energy Safe Victoria and arrange an independent inspection of the installation within 10 days. Once the Certificate of Electrical Safety is returned, your installer will lodge additional paperwork which includes an Electrical Work Request to arrange for your smart meter to be configured.

4. Smart meter configuration

Most Victorian customers already have a smart meter which can be remotely configured for your solar system.

5. Switch your system on

Once you receive confirmation that your smart meter is configured, you have the green light to turn your system on! Your solar retailer or installer should let you know what to do and when.

1. Network connection application

Your solar retailer or installer will lodge this with your distribution network service provider and will need approval before installation of your solar system. This may take longer for regional customers and a technical assessment may be required.

2. System installation

Learn more about what to expect on installation day.

3. Paperwork

Your installer must lodge the following completed forms:

  • electrical Work Request for Energex customers
  • form A for Ergon customers.

4. Smart meter installation or configuration

Your smart meter is installed or configured for your solar system.

5. Switch your system on

Once you receive confirmation that your smart meter is configured, you have the green light to turn your system on! Your solar retailer or installer should let you know what to do and when.

1. Network connection application

Your solar retailer or installer will lodge this with your distribution network service provider and will need approval before installation of your solar system. In South Australia it is called a South Australia Power Networks Small Embedded Generator (SEG) Request Form.

2. SEG sent to electricity retailer

Once it is approved, your solar retailer or installer will send the SEG request Form to your electricity retailer who will then arrange for your smart meter to be installed or configured.

3. Meter isolator

Your solar installer must make sure you have a meter isolator installed on your switchboard before your electricity retailer will install a smart meter. Therefore, the solar system will sometimes be installed prior to the smart meter.

4. Smart meter Installation or configuration

Your electricity retailer will install or configure your smart meter.

5. System installation

Learn more about what to expect on installation day.

6. Switch your system on

If your solar system is installed before your smart meter, you will have to wait for confirmation that your smart meter is configured before switching on. If your smart meter is configured, then you should have the green light to switch on your solar on installation day. Your solar retailer or installer should let you know what to do and when

 

1. Network connection application

Your solar retailer or installer will lodge this with your distribution network service provider and will need approval before installation of your solar system.

2. System installation

Once your connection application has been approved your system can be installed. Learn more about what to expect on installation day.

3. Paperwork

Your installer must provide technical information about the installed system to TasNetworks (the only distribution network service provider in Tasmania) and a Certificate of Electrical Compliance to Tech Safe Tasmania.

4. Inspection and approval

Tech Safe Tasmania will conduct an independent inspection of the system.

5. Smart meter installation or configuration

Once TasNetworks have verified technical information on the system, they will forward the information to your electricity retailer who will arrange to complete any required metering installation. If you have an existing smart meter, it will be remotely configured for your solar system.

6. Switch your system on

Once you receive confirmation that your smart meter is configured, you have the green light to turn your system on! Your solar retailer or installer should let you know what to do and when.

1. Check if development approval is required

In most cases in the ACT, you should not need development approval for a solar system. Read more about approvals. Your solar retailer or installer will be able to advise you.

2. Special connection request

Your solar retailer or installer will apply to your distribution network service provider, Evoenergy, on your behalf by submitting a special connection request. This will need Evoenergy approval before installation.

3. Electricity meter change request

Your solar retailer or installer will submit a Request for Service Form to your electricity retailer.

4. System installation

Learn more about what to expect on installation day.

5. Paperwork / inspection

Your installer will submit a Certificate of Electrical Safety to Access Canberra who will conduct an independent inspection of the installation. This may occur after you have had your meter configured and have switched the system on.

6. Meter installation or configuration

Your electricity retailer will install or configure your meter for your solar system.

7. Switch your system on

Once you receive confirmation that your smart meter is configured, you have the green light to turn your system on! Your solar retailer or installer should let you know what to do and when

 

For systems with inverter sizes up to 30kW the process for connecting solar to the grid is as follows:

1. Network connection application

Your solar retailer or installer will lodge a PV inverter network connection agreement with your distribution network service provider (Northern Territory Power and Water). They will also need to submit a wiring diagram.

2. Power purchase agreement

You will need to contact your electricity retailer to request a power purchase agreement for the excess solar you generate. This will also enable correct metering and billing standards to apply.

3. System Installation

Once you have received connection approval from Northern Territory Power and Water, your system can be installed. Learn more about what to expect on installation day.

4. Post-installation paperwork and inspection

Your installer will submit a copy of the Certificate of Compliance and commissioning sheet. Northern Territory Power and Water will then complete the final connection of the installation (including any required upgrade or replacement of the meter). They will also conduct inspections and any required tests to confirm the system is compliant.

5. Switch your system on

Once you receive confirmation that your smart meter is configured, you have the green light to turn your system on! Your solar retailer or installer should let you know what to do and when.

There is a different process for systems with inverter sizes above 30kW. Your solar retailer or installer will manage this.

The process of installing and connecting a solar system to the grid in Western Australia varies depending on whether you are in the Western Power or Horizon Power network area.

Western Power

1. Site evaluation

Your solar retailer or installer is required to conduct a site evaluation.

2. Electricity retailer application

Your solar retailer or installer will apply to your electricity retailer (typically Synergy). You will receive a Retailer Reference Number.

3. Embedded generation connection application

Your solar retailer or installer will submit an Embedded Generation Application including your Retailer Reference Number and technical details of your system.

4. System installation

Once the Embedded Generation Connection application has been approved, your installer can install the system. Learn more about what to expect on installation day.

5. Embedded generation registration form

Your installer will then submit an Embedded Generation Registration form. This will determine whether a meter change is required and trigger the service order.

6. Meter replacement or configuration

Your meter will be changed or configured for your solar system as required.

7. Switch your system on

Once you receive confirmation that your smart meter is configured, you have the green light to turn your system on! Your solar retailer or installer should let you know what to do and when.

Horizon Power

1. Network connection application

Your solar retailer or installer will submit a Network Connection Application and determine whether you are eligible for a buyback scheme (where Horizon Power buys your excess solar generation).

2. System installation

Once connection is approved by Horizon Power, the system can be installed. Learn more about what to expect on installation day.

3. Notice of completion

A notice of completion must be submitted by the installer within three days of installation.

4. Meter installation or configuration

Horizon Power will then install or configure your meter.

5. Switch your system on

Once you receive confirmation that your smart meter is configured, you have the green light to turn your system on! Your solar retailer or installer should let you know what to do and when.