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Ask Dr. Solar - Renovations, Switchboards and Meters.


by Dr Solar

Michael B. asks:

I am doing a renovation and I plan on getting solar panels in the next two years. As part of the renovations being done now we need to move the meter and switchboard. Should we get a new meter that is compatible with solar now, or wait till we get the solar panels? Is it any cheaper to do it now rather than wait for the inverter and panels later on? My retailer is Origin and our supplier is AGL.

Dr. Solar:

Michael, I would communicate with your distributor (the one that owns the power poles) regarding your plans. Around Australia at this point different rules apply regarding the type of meter that will be required to install and read/measure solar generated electricity

In many cases a bi-directional meter is required. This meter reads the kw/h supplied from the grid and at the same time also reads the kW/h put back into the grid. It is advisable if your distributor uses this meter to install it now as this will save the approx $300 to supply and install it later. Also when choosing the meter board/box make sure you choose one big enough for another meter down the track eg off peak etc.. many times we have to upgrade meter boxes which can not accommodate additional meters.

Finally please check with AGL if they now buy back solar generated electricity... in the past they were one of the few electricity retailers turning their back on the solar industry and refusing to purchase the electricity put back into the grid. If that's the case consider switching retailers. Origin does buy back the electricity you generate.

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