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Update: emergency backstop for small and medium solar systems

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) is aware that distribution businesses are experiencing challenges in implementing certain processes necessary for the operation of the incoming emergency backstop for small and medium solar systems (up to 200 kW). DEECA has reviewed the industry’s readiness to meet a 1 July 2024 commencement date.

To support a smooth transition to the new requirements, the emergency backstop for small and medium systems will now commence on 1 October 2024.

Why do we need an emergency backstop?

Occasionally on mild, sunny days when there is low demand for electricity, more solar is exported to the grid than we can use.

This can lead to:

  • unstable electricity supply
  • local voltage issues
  • possible outages.

The emergency backstop will make sure that solar exports can be safely managed and enable more households to get the benefits and annual bill savings associated with solar. It will help to avoid blackouts by enabling rooftop solar systems to be turned down or switched off when there is too much power in the grid.

Using the emergency backstop is a last resort. It will not affect the supply of electricity to your home.

When it will be used?

The emergency backstop will only be used when required by the Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO) and only for as long as it is needed, in rare emergencies when solar exports are too high to be safely managed. It will help to avoid blackouts and make sure that Victorians can continue to use electricity.

Introduction timeline

The emergency backstop will be introduced in 2 stages for newly installed, upgraded and replacement rooftop solar systems.

Stage 1 – large solar systems

From 25 October 2023, an emergency backstop applies to all new, upgrading and replacement solar systems greater than 200 kW (large).

Distribution businesses have introduced emergency backstop capabilities for new and replacement solar systems connecting to their networks. Your distribution business can provide more information about these requirements when you apply to connect or replace a large solar system.

Stage 2 – small and medium solar systems

From 1 October 2024, an emergency backstop applies to all new, upgrading and replacement rooftop solar systems less than or equal to 200 kW (small and medium). For these rooftop solar systems, this means the power you generate and feed into the grid can be remotely turned down or switched off in an emergency, as a last resort.

I have solar on my roof – what do I need to do?

If you are installing or upgrading your rooftop solar system after 1 October 2024, your installer must ensure it is emergency backstop enabled.

This requires:

  • a compatible inverter: this means the export and generation from the inverter is capable of being remotely managed.
  • a reliable internet connection: this will ensure the distribution business can communicate with the inverter (unless an exception applies).

If you do not have rooftop solar, or you have an existing rooftop solar system installed before 1 July 2024, then these changes will not impact you.

You can read more about the emergency backstop in the factsheet.

I’m a solar installer/retailer – how do I comply?

From 1 October 2024, new, upgrading or replacement solar systems must be installed compliantly with backstop requirements.

Industry guidance is available.

More information

For more information about Stage 1 of the emergency backstop (for large solar systems), please contact your local distribution business via their website:

For more information about Stage 2 of the emergency backstop introduction (for small and medium solar systems):

Page last updated: 21/06/24