Export limiting simply limits the amount of power you can send back to the grid. This is to place some limits on individually owned solar systems, otherwise everyone would get outrageous amounts of solar and flood the grid.
Export limiting only limits the amount of power your solar system is sending back to the grid, not what you can consume. The term “export limit” sounds bad but when a system is sized correctly, it isn’t a big deal at all.
Across Australia export limiting is determined by your electricity distributor, the people who put up the poles and wires.
There are two key considerations when working out if you need an export limiter.
Common practice across electricity distributors is to allow 5kW’s of inverter capacity per phase without export limitation.
So, if you are a single phase home you can have 5kW’s of inverter capacity and 6.6kW of solar. If you want to learn more about why you can have more solar than inverter capacity, check out our video on 6.6kW solar systems.
If you are three phase you can generally install 15kW’s of inverter capacity and 19.8kW’s of solar without export limitation.
Not all distributors follow the same rules. As an example, Ausgrid who covers metro Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle a home can have up to 10kW’s of inverter capacity per phase.
The only time we see export limitation as a negative outcome is when a large solar system is installed on a home with low consumption.
Like I said, export limiting is only limiting the power you can send to the grid, you can still consume the solar you are generating from your solar system.
An overlooked benefit or by product of installing an export limiter is increased monitoring.
The basic monitoring you have access to once your solar is installed without an export limiter will show the generation of the solar system. Not much else.
When adding an export limiter, also commonly referred to as a smart meter or device, you will then have greater visibility on other aspects such as what your home is consuming from the grid, what is being sold back to the grid and how much you are consuming from your solar.