Million-meter milestone driven by surging solar and behind the meter services

Australia / New Zealand

The million-meter milestone has just been cracked at Australian and NZ metering and data intelligence specialist Intellihub, as solar installations continue to drive new advanced metering solutions across electricity markets.

The smart meter installation occurred at a home in suburban Sydney as part of the connection requirements for a new rooftop PV system.

The new meter was safely installed by one of Intellihub’s field services crew members servicing customers across the Australian and New Zealand market.

Intellihub’s smart meter not only eliminates estimated reads, but it also unlocks monthly billing for the customer, new prices and products and, importantly, access to new retailers.

It’s also capable of dynamic load control, which helps customers save money and install larger solar systems and also improves grid safety through improved diagnostics provided to distributors.

In the near future, as electric vehicles, batteries and smart home orchestration becomes more common, these latest meters will optimise these behind the meter services to help maximise renewables across the country.

Intellihub Group CEO, Adrian Clark said the Australian market was driving new growth in advanced metering solutions.

“One million meters under management is a special milestone to crack,” Mr Clark said.

“The smart meters we are installing now are a lot different to what was on the market a few years ago. There has been a big focus on the meter offering more to consumers participating in the two-side energy market.

“The New Zealand Market is close to full penetration of smart meters, but the Australian market has been slower at adopting modern metering technology.

“But that is now starting to change, as we’re seeing more Australian homes adopt solar and other behind the meter solutions.”

New Zealand has now reached about 90 per cent smart meter penetration, as a result of improvements to market competition and the economic benefits to both the consumer and the retailer by unlocking smart meter services at scale.

In Australia, metering only became a contestable service across the electricity market in late 2017 following reforms backed by state and federal governments.

The outlier was Victoria which opted to delay the introduction of competition by keeping metering as a monopoly service.

Outside of Victoria, only about one in five meters are modern smart meters, with the remainder old analogue accumulation or time of use meters.

Almost two million of those meters are more than 30 years old and incredibly there are an estimated 365,000 meters in use in Australia that are 50 years or older.

New meter installations are being driven by new or renovated homes and commercial premises connecting to the electricity grid, replacement of failing old meters or by request from customers via their electricity retailer.

However, new household solar installations are driving the lion’s share of new meter connections, with smart meter edge computing technology soon to enable dynamic control and other demand response services.

An estimated 65% of new Intellihub meter installs were driven by solar or other behind the meter services in 2020.

The International Energy Agency recently ranked Australia as number one for the world’s highest solar PV capacity on a per capita basis.

While according to Federal Government estimates, one in four Australian homes now have solar PV installed, and they have been installing it 10 times faster than the global average. It also expects that the generating capacity of small-scale rooftop solar systems will triple by 2030.

More recently, small scale residential and commercial solar installations continue to increase in 2021, with a 23 percent increase in January compared to the same month in 2020.

According to industry analysis from SunWiz, almost 250 megawatts solar PV capacity was added by Australian households and businesses over the month, with NSW and Queensland leading the charge.