30 Oct 2011 08:10:53
Is your solar installation going to be too big? 4kW or not 4kW?
Yes, I know it’s a strange question to be asked, will you potentially be declined your planned solar installation in Devon? You may find that the DNO refuses you permission to generate and ultimately export more than 3.68kWp. We do not plan any of our installations without prior confirmation, we handle the enquiries on your behalf and aim to make the process hassle free.
So how does this work and why does it matter?
The distribution network operator here in the South West is Western Power Distribution, they have the responsibility to ensure the electricity supply network in Devon operates safely and, as such, they have the power to restrict the amount of power exported onto the public network, currently this is set at 16 Amps (or 3.68kWp). When the feed-in tariff started a couple of years ago Western Power didn’t feel the need for restrictions and we were free to install solar PV systems up to 4kWp. Yet now as Western Power monitor the effect of the significant increase in solar PV installations in Devon they have felt the need to enforce restrictions as necessary. If you live in Exeter or any of the other large cities in Devon or Somerset, you will be largely unaffected by this as the network infrastructure is sufficient to cope with the additional electricity. The restrictions are mainly associated with rural locations and single phase supplies.
So what does that mean for my Devon solar PV install?
If your Devon solar PV installation is below 16 amps or less then the DNO cannot refuse your connection into the public network. If it is above then Western Power will carry out a study to ensure the network in your area can take that extra power prior to your installation as your installer should make an enquiry on your behalf.
What can I do?
Don’t let the restrictions being enforced by the DNO stop your plan of installation, there are always ways to manage the situation within the requirement of the DNO. My Exeter based solar PV company can help, and for an assessment of your property, please send us an enquiry, we are always here to help and guide you in the right direction.