With immediate effect small and medium sized solar installations (up to 200kW in size) will find it easier and cheaper to connect to the grid in Scotland.
The breakthrough comes thanks to the Distribution Network Operator agreeing to relax restrictions on solar after STA Scotland lobbied them with clear evidence on the modest network impact of most rooftop solar projects in practice.
Analysis by the network operator Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) on data provided by STA Scotland members across a range of solar installations concluded that the effect of most on the local grid was much less than previously thought.
SPEN had required a ‘Statement of Works’ from developers seeking to install even small solar projects over 11kW. This meant developers had to commission a costly and time-consuming analysis of how projects may affect transmission loads at national level, adding over £10,000 to some project costs. This will no longer be necessary.
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 & cheaper to go solar.”
Attractiveness of going solar
The decision will have a significant, material impact on the economics and attractiveness of going solar, particularly for the commercial rooftop and multi-scheme new build housing sectors.
The STA will continue to work with Distribution Network Operators in Scotland and has been holding meetings on the impact of outages and curtailment on solar PV projects. It has been agreed that there is a need for standardised best industry practice and we are keen to facilitate this.
Chris Clark said; “We look forward to deepening our 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.”