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Export limited?  Should I not get solar?

Export limited? Should I not get solar?

You’re keen to get solar panels on your home.  You’ve got a quote.  But then you find out that you aren’t allowed to export your surplus solar to the grid.

That doesn’t seem fair, right?  You won’t be able to get the feed-in tariff.  And the extra solar your system produces will just go to waste.

You wonder, is it even worth getting solar?

Good question.

This blog explains why solar is still worth getting for most households, even if you are export limited.

We cover:

  • What export limiting is
  • Why solar is still financially worth it, even if you’re export limited

What is export limiting?

Before you can get a new solar panels system installed on your home or business, it must first be approved for grid connection by your local network distributor (that’s the company who owns the poles and lines in your area.)

These network distributors are big; and they each have their own rules.  They are also a monopoly in the area they service, so you’ve got no choice but to go with them – or go off-grid!

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The formal application to connect your proposed solar system to the grid is generally handled by your Solar Retailer.  Normally the network distributor approves the request if it complies with their rules for how much solar you can install per phase.  (Most homes are single phase and can have between 6.6kW to 10kW of solar installed, depending on the network distributor’s rules).

But sometimes they come back with a ‘no’.  This could either be:

  • You can’t export any surplus solar power to the grid (i.e., zero exports); or
  • You can export some or your surplus solar power, but not all of it (i.e., export limiting.)

Understandably you may feel disappointed.  But the good news is they aren’t stopping you from getting solar panels installed.  You can still get a decent size solar system on your roof and power your home for free during the daytime.  And if you decide to add battery storage , you can power your home for free at night as well!

Why is solar is still worth it, even if you are export limited?

The answer to this question is simple.  It’s because the feed-in tariff is low – and going even lower in the next 6-12 months.  And because electricity prices are so high.

Combine these two factors with the extremely competitive pricing you can get on quality solar panels systems from SolarRun (!) and the financial justification for solar – even with export limiting – is a no-brainer.

Let’s unpack this by looking at two facts:

  • Fact 1: The feed-in tariff has dropped in value and is now worth an average 6-7 cents per kilowatt hour.  And the downward spiral is expected to continue with a scheduled drop of another 1-2 cents in the middle of 2022 in Victoria and possibly other states. So, it’s not worth much at all.  Pretty much peanuts in fact!
  • Fact 2: Grid electricity is pricey.  The average Australian home is paying around 26-30 cents per kilowatt hour for grid electricity. Avoiding this cost by using your free solar power saves money right away.

Let’s take the example of an Australian family who uses 20 kilowatt hours of electricity a day (the Aussie household average) and pays 30 cents per kilowatt hour for grid electricity.  This table shows the more they ‘self-consume’  of their own solar electricity, the bigger the bill savings.


Savings with solar: Use more of your own solar power for the greatest savings
Percentage of home powered by solar panels and percentage powered by grid electricity Savings / day*Savings / year
50% solar

50% grid power

75% solar

25% grid power

100% solar

0% grid power


*Note: Assumes 30 cents per kilowatt hour for grid power

What’s clear is that the biggest savings with solar are when you use your own free solar electricity to power your home.  The more you can use of your own self-generated solar power, the less you need to buy from the grid.

So how can you do this?

The main ways you can get your solar self-consumption percentage to 50% or greater are:

  • Use timers on appliances to run them in the middle of day
  • Invest in a Wi-Fi enabled reverse-cycle air conditioning system [link to post] to heat and cool your home using your solar.
  • Switch from gas hot water heating to an electric heat pump hot water system [link to post], running off solar
  • Use the advanced monitoring capabilities [link to Solar Analytics post] in modern solar inverters to get real-time information on how electricity is being used in the home (both solar and grid power)
  • Get battery storage [link] installed and run your home on solar 24/7
  • Join a Virtual Power Plant program  and export stored battery power for a lot more than the feed-in tariff
  • Install an EV charging system  to charge an electric car  for free with solar.

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As you can see, there are lots of ways to maximise the value from your solar panels system.  The more you can switch your home to all-electric appliances [link to all electric post], the more you can power for free from your solar.

If you haven’t got reverse-cycle air conditioning or an electric hot water heat pump yet, consider getting these installed.  Heating and cooling, as well as hot water, account for the lion’s share of energy use in most homes.

Get off gas and onto electric – and power it with solar.

Start taking these steps and you’ll be amazed at the savings.  And you’ll also realise why the export limit is nothing to worry about at all.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about export limitations, or would like a quote for a solar system, get in touch .  As a Clean Energy Council Accredited Solar Retailer and Installer, we can advise and quote on solar panels systems, solar batteries and solar monitoring systems.  Plus, we sell and install reverse-cycle air conditioners and electric heat pump hot water systems.  We stock leading brands and – thanks to our scale and buying power – our prices will impress!

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