Solar PV and smart meters: are they compatible?
Posted by Gabby Mallett on 22 February 2016 at 11:55 am
Q: I had PV solar fitted in September 2014, my electric and gas supplier has offered to install smart meters. I'm confused if this will be compatible between my normal electric usage & PV? Also the rule is that I get a unit price for every unit produced by PV through feed-in-tariff and I get 50% of export tariff as export can't be measured. So if I fit a smart meter is there a possibility that the export unit may be reduced if it's proved that there is a differential of the 50% rule.
A: This is an interesting question. With all the great things we have heard about smart meters, the years in the planning and the rise in photovoltaic installations since 2010, you could be forgiven for thinking that the two would work seamlessly together. Clearly that is not the case.
On speaking to my own electricity supplier I was told that smart meters aren’t currently compatible with microgeneration systems - they can’t work with PV. I asked I could have the smart meter installed and still leave the PV with the separate generation meter and the 50% deeming and was informed that actually they won’t install a smart meter in a home with PV.
I couldn’t get any information on when this situation is likely to change. Basically smart meters measure current, rather than direction of current and therefore they can’t tell if you are using or generating. So the easy answer is you can’t have a smart meter fitted if you already have PV, so make sure you tell your energy company and they will either leave you with the current meter or install a new digital non-smart one.
Photo: David Dodge
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