Grid Constraints are a Threat to Future Solar Deployment, So Don’t Delay

January 27, 2016

Mark Wakeford, Managing Director of EvoEnergy, puts forward another compelling reason why businesses all over the UK shouldn’t delay with their plans for solar energy.

Mark Wakeford comments;

“With the Government still pushing for 20GW of solar by 2020, the situation for connecting new installations to the grid is very alarming. While many customers are struggling to understand our Government’s commitment to solar, another issue thrown into the mix is the rapidly decreasing capacity on the UK’s grid for connecting new PV systems; another reason why businesses shouldn’t delay ‘going solar’.

At EvoEnergy, we are increasingly experiencing declined applications for connecting new clients to the grid due to the lack of capacity in certain areas to receive exported electricity; sadly, this isn’t just for remote locations but also in large urban areas. For instance, we’ve just had two rooftop installations declined grid connection at Rugby (250kWp) and Leicester (300kWp) due to the lack of capacity in those regions.

Connecting domestic systems has never presented many issues, however, for commercial installers like ourselves, connecting commercial systems – particularly over 50kWp – is proving to be a frequent battle for obtaining permission from the various Distribution Network Operators (DNO).

At the time of writing this article, it is now difficult to connect new commercial systems in Norfolk, Scotland (other than the major cities), Oxford and Swindon. Without Government investment, the number of regions on this list will only increase.

The latest Government report, Delivering UK Energy Investment, stated that over £16bn has been invested into upgrading the UK’s electricity network since 2010, with an additional £32bn to be potentially invested before 2020. Although their report highlights the importance of upgrading the infrastructure to increase capacity for connecting renewable systems, the current grid constraints that challenge our industry suggest that either this work is yet incomplete or the investment in this area hasn’t been sufficient to meet the growing demand.

While customers have been looking forward to reducing energy bills, the forecast is that any price reduction will be very modest. As an industry we can therefore only hope that the lack of saving passed on to the consumer – and the delay in doing so – is a sign that this much needed investment is being made in the Grid.

The message for large businesses must be that if you hope to use solar to either reduce costs, reduce carbon, improve customer relations or meet your ESOS expectations, then commit now before your competitors use the available capacity in your local grid.”

 

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