The Australian Energy Market Commission has given the green light to an amendment to the electrical standard governing solar installations that will ensure rooftop systems do not disconnect when there are voltage disturbances on the network.

The rule commences December 18, 2021, when AS/NZS 4777.2:2020 will come into effect.

The rule creates a definition of distributed energy resources (DER) Technical Standards that incorporates AS/NZS 4777.2:2020 in the National Electricity Rules (NER) and requires DER Technical Standards to be embedded in distributed network service providers’ model standing offers for basic connection services.

Under the new rules, networks will be obliged to ensure that connecting inverters meet the new standard.

“These new minimum technical standards are part of a raft of changes we are looking at to future-proof the power system so it can confidently handle more solar,” said AEMC chief executive Benn Barr. “The rapid uptake of solar means we must act now to make sure this technology and the system it uses work hand in hand.”

The new standards will apply to inverters and ensure that household energy systems won’t “trip” or disconnect when there are voltage disturbances on the network.

The rule change will only apply to new and upgraded systems, following the December 18 start date. It applies to all jurisdictions in the national electricity market.

The standards follow a rule change request from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) seeking to set up a framework for AEMO to set minimal technical standards.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said it was particularly positive that the AEMC had decided to introduce the standards within the existing framework rather than create new rules.

“It is important that regulatory bodies support the most efficient pathways to enable new technologies and integrate distributed energy resources like solar and batteries into the grid,” Dillon said.

“These new standards will help networks ensure the growing amounts of rooftop solar can operate efficiently and safely and more customers can connect their devices to grid.”