Horizon Power is removing solar capacity restrictions across its service areas, allowing more customers across Western Australia to benefit from solar energy.
Up until this year, Horizon Power has limited the amount of solar energy that could be connected to its power systems in each of the 46 towns on its network. This ‘hosting capacity’ was a necessary measure to prevent voltage and frequency issues, and to avoid power outages.
However, this constraint has meant that many people living in regional Western Australia have been unable to access the benefits of renewable energy. Currently, customers living in 13 of the 46 towns on Horizon’s network are unable to install solar on their homes due to these hosting capacity restrictions.
The 46 Western Australian towns within Horizon Power’s network are: Ardyaloon, Beagle Bay, Bentley, Bidyadanga, Bldyadanga, Boolardy, Broome, Cambalin/Looma, Carnarvon, Cossack, Coral Bay, Cue, Denham, Derby, Djarindjin/Lombadina, Esperance, Exmouth, Fitzroy Crossing, Gascoyne Junction, Halls Creek, Hopetoun, Kalumburu, Karratha, Kununurra, Lake Argyle, Laverton, Leonora, Marble Bar, Meekatharra, Menzies, Mt Magnet, Norseman, Nullagine, Onslow, Point Samson, Port Hedland, Roebourne, Sandstone, South Hedland, Warmun, Wiluna, Wyndham, Yalgoo, Yungngora.
New solar installations are currently not available in the following 13 towns: Broome, Carnarvonn, Denham, Esperance, Exmouth, Fitzroy Crossing, Gascoyne Junction, Karratha, Menzies, Mt Magnet, Onslow, Sandstone and Yungngor.
The Change – Smart Connect Solar
In February this year, Horizon Power is implementing Smart Connect Solar. Starting in Carnarvon, with other towns to follow, this solution is designed to balance high levels of renewable energy on microgrids, thus enhancing both stability and resilience of the energy supply.
Smart Connect Solar works by connecting to each new solar system via a home internet connection and enables Horizon Power to turn down the amount of electricity each solar system generates when necessary to protect the electricity network.
Horizon Power have stated that the implementation of Smart Connect Solar may lead to an estimated 10% reduction in solar output annually for each customer on its network. Customers’ eligibility for buyback rates remains unaffected.
To facilitate this transition, Horizon Power has updated its Technical Requirements.
Internet connectivity is now a mandatory requirement for all new solar installations.
A small box called a Secure Gateway Device (SGD) will be installed on each property. The SGD is what enables each individual solar system to talk to Horizon Power’s energy management technology. (Horizon Power will provide and maintain the SGD).
For Basic EG connections (up to 30 kVA), there are currently only 6 makes of inverter that are compatible with Smart Connect Solar: Fronius, Goodwe, Growatt, SMA, Sofar and Sungrow. To view all compatible models, see here.
Horizon Power’s adoption of Smart Connect Solar represents a significant move towards more accessible solar energy in Western Australia. This initiative, coupled with updated technical requirements, is set to enhance grid stability while expanding solar usage, reflecting a balance between renewable energy growth and reliable power supply.
If you live in one of these towns Solar Market can help connect you with trusted local solar installers.