Michael has asked Energy Matters' advice as he is renovating now and has plans to get solar panels in the next two years. As part of the renovations being done now, he has to move the meter and switchboard.
His dilemma is whether to get a new meter that is compatible with solar now or to wait till he gets the solar panels.
He also wanted to know if it is cheaper to do it now rather than to wait for the inverter and panels later on. Michael retailer was Origin and supplier was AGL.
Energy Matters advised Michael to communicate with his distributor (the one that owns the power poles) regarding his 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 the distributor uses this meter to install it now as this will save the approximately $300 to supply and install it later.
Energy Matters also recommend that when choosing the meter board/box to choose one which is big enough for another meter down the track e.g. off peak, etc. as many times meter boxes have to be upgraded, which cannot accommodate additional meters.
Finally, Energy Matters directed Michael to check with AGL if they now buy back solar generated electricity as 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 is the case, Energy Matters asked Michael to consider switching retailers as Origin does buy back the electricity generated.