STA, the Scottish Solar Trade Association, have proven to the Distribution Network Operator that solar installations under 200 kW have a much smaller impact on the grid than previously assumed. Hence the DNO could be persuaded to simplify the connection procedure for these projects.
In Scotland, owners of small solar installations may soon find it much easier to connect their rooftop solar projects to the grid. This is due to negotiations the Solar Trade Association (STA) Scotland recently conducted with the Distribution Network Operator Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN). STA based these on various case studies, which proved that small to mid-size rooftop solar installations do, in fact, have only a very modest network impact. The DNO then made further calculations and, as a result, agreed to relax restrictions from 1st April 2018. This means that owners of installations of up to 200 kW will now find it easier and cheaper to get connected to the grid.
STA pleased with result of negotiations
The STA is relieved this step was successful. On behalf of the entire association, STA Scotland Chair Chris Clark said: “This is a breakthrough for solar in Scotland and it goes a long way towards removing one of several barriers to Scotland realising its solar potential. We’re grateful to Scottish Power Energy Networks for engaging with our members and for looking carefully at the evidence. As a result of SPEN taking a sensible approach to rooftop schemes, businesses and housing developers all over Scotland will find it easier and cheaper to go solar.”
According to Clark, the STA is also looking forward to “deepening its collaboration with SPEN as the networks transition to smart, active Distribution System Operators able to make full use of the many services and potential cost savings solar PV and energy storage can deliver.“
The end of a tiring process
Before now, SPEN requested a ‘Statement of Works’ from developers and owners who intended to connect their installations to the grid. This applied to any solar project of more than 11 kW and meant a long and expensive process, during which an analysis of possible impact on transition loads at national level had to be obtained. In some cases, this could add as much as 10,000 GBP (= 14,000 USD) to the project costs.
With the new, easier procedure, it is now to be expected that solar should soon become even more attractive to developers and investors in Scotland, especially where commercial rooftop and multi-scheme new build housing are concerned. Meanwhile, STA are working towards more solutions that will bring solar forward as a major alternative to non-renewable energy.