A DNO stands for Distribution Network Operator, a company responsible for operating, maintaining, and developing the electrical distribution network within an area. This network carries electricity from the grid to our homes.

What is the Role of a DNO in Solar Power?

DNOs come into play when you decide to install solar panels in your home:

  • Agreement: You need approval from your local DNO before you can connect solar panels to the grid. This is to confirm that the grid can safely withstand the additional electricity your solar system will be generating.
  • Capacity: The local network’s capacity to handle the electricity will be assessed. The local grid may require upgrades to accommodate extra generation.
  • Safety: It will ensure that your solar installation complies with all safety and technical standards to prevent any issues such as voltage fluctuations or power quality problems.

 What is the Process of a DNO for Solar?

If you are thinking about installing solar on your property, here is a step-by-step process of how it should typically be carried out:

1. You will need to inform the DNO about your solar plans

If you have decided to install solar panels for your home, you or whoever is installing them needs to inform the DNO. Normally, this is done through an application process.

G98 (Micro generation): Small installations can normally connect and notify the DNO after installation. Small installations can be up to 3.68kW per phase.

G99: Generation installations in excess of 16A (3.68kW) per phase must comply with Engineering Regulation (EREC) G99. Larger systems will need approval before installation.

2. What needs to be included in the application

The application for your solar panels may need to include details like the total capacity of the system, the type of inverter used, site plans, and electrical diagrams

3. The assessment will be carried out

Your application will be reviewed to determine if the local network can accommodate your proposed solar system. A technical assessment may be carried out.

4. Approval, connection, and installation

If your application is approved, you will then receive a connection agreement that outlines the terms and conditions for connecting your solar system to the grid. After you receive the approval, the installation will commence.

5. After installation inspection

Once installation is complete, it may be necessary to have an inspection by the DNO to make sure the agreed standards have been complied with.

6. Exporting Electricity

Upon completion, you will start generating electricity. Any excess you generate can be exported back to the grid via a feed-in tariff.

Why is the DNO for Solar so Important?

The DNO is important to ensure the integration of solar systems so that they don’t impact the stability or reliability of the grid. All systems that are connected will need to meet the safety standards to protect properties and the community. The DNO will also help optimise the use of renewable energy in the grid.

How long Does the Process Take?

All DNO applications are different and it’s not easy to determine timeframes for a specific case. Access to all the information needed would be an impossibility.

There are factors which can slow down the DNO approval process. During the summer months, application volumes will likely be higher, so the DNO may have an application backlog. This will also impact any Technical Assessments they need to undertake.

Your installer should be in regular contact with your DNO and should be following up on the application on your behalf.

In Summary

DNOs are a vital part of the integration of solar panels into the electrical grid. They ensure safety, compliance, and maximised operation. Contacting the DNO as soon as possible in the process will help with a smooth connection of the solar system to the grid.

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