I am about to start a new build and solar pre-wiring will be done during the construction. Solar system will be installed after the handover.
It was advised in several articles, that it’s worthwhile to install a solar ready meter during the construction. Spoke to the electrician who will be doing pre-wiring and he said that solar ready meter could be installed only after solar system is installed. That means I will have to pay for the meter upgrade. Not sure how much it will cost. I am in Melbourne.
Is it really not possible to install solar ready meter before solar system is installed?
It sounds like you are a little confused. There are two types of energy meters…
The standard ‘smart’ energy meter installed on every home so the electricity retailer can monitor your electricity and bill you accordingly. (They are really not that smart though)
A ‘solar’ energy meter is optional when you purchase a solar system. This meter is installed by the solar company and connected to your solar inverter. It lets you monitor both your energy consumption and solar generation on an app or online. This is the same brand as the solar inverter you use and is provided when you install your solar system.
Now back to the energy meter used for billing. This meter is installed on all new homes in Victoria and technically known as a ‘bi-directional’ meter, meaning it can measure energy flowing both in and out of the home. To enable it to measure solar export (so you can get feed-in credits), the electricity provider will remotely re-program it, this usually costs about $50. Obviously this is done only after you have solar installed.
Pre-wiring for the smart ‘solar’ meter would normally just involve running a simple communications (CAT 5) cable from the main switchboard to where the solar inverter will be located. Any electrician should be able to do this during the house construction. (As long as you know where the inverter will be located?)
Hope this helps.
Thanks, Jason. Please correct me if I am wrong, smart meter which will be installed is already “solar ready”, i.e no new meter required. It’s solar “feature” will be enabled by the retailer for about $50 after solar installer finished the job.
Yes that’s correct. All new smart meters in Vic are as you say ‘solar ready’. I believe all the other states in Australia are now doing the same.
The solar (export) function will be enabled after your solar system is installed and all the paperwork is processed by the local network provider (this can take up to a month though).
there are typically two kinds of metering going on…
- hardware meter(s) for the utility. either one ‘combination’ meter reading both net and production, or two physically separate meters, one for net and one for PV production. Depends on local interconnection rules and how they read the meters and do your billing. My install team always installs a physical meter can and disconnect for a production meter before the point of interconnection whether the utility requires it or not so the customer has a non-software way to see and record production.
2.CT+internet metering (installed by solar installers) for monitoring and display online from the PV inverter mfg or third party. For example; SolarEdge, Enphase inverter both have their own monitoring equipment that come with, which is CT clamps on main conductors for both PV production and house consumption, and the data goes to a server online so you and the installer can monitor system online. There are third party monitors you can get like ‘sense’ or ‘efergy’ if your inverter mfg doesn’t include…
I have a suggestion, regarding the Pre Wiring
It will be a good practice to separate those loads ( Lighting & Power )that may required EPS Emergency Power Supply
This will be very handy should one day you have the BESS (Battery Energy Storage System ) that support Back up Power or EPS. That make things so much easy to implement.
Thanks for the advice. Do you mean to put them on different circuits? What is the best practice there? Light vs Power sockets, Areas etc.
I mean a separate Sub Board where Essential load and Non Essential LOAD
Ok, got it. Should it add any significant cost to overall installation/pre-wiring bill?
No this would add very little to the overall installation. Possibly an extra hour of labour and a small separate switchboard (sub-board). Maybe in total an extra $250.
However, if it was done at a later stage it could cost double the amount.