Solar / Distributed Generation
What is distributed generation?
Distributed generators, also known as 'embedded generators', are generators located at a home or business that are capable of generating electricity for use on the premises. They may also be capable of putting surplus power back into our network.
Two information packs
We have two information packs for people or organisations wanting to install distributed generation and connect to our network:
- one for small systems (10 kilowatts or less), which are likely to be installed in homes or small businesses and are typically solar panels. They may also be wind-powered, micro-hydro systems or fuel cells.
- and one for large systems (greater than 10 kilowatts), which are typically installed at industrial, commercial or rural sites.
Approving your generator for connection to the network
The approval process to connect your generator is normally completed by a qualified installer. Our aim is to have your application approved within five working days.
Connecting to the network requires:
- A licenced electrician to complete wiring and electrical documentation.
- An approved inverter. An inverter is an electrical device that transfers energy from the solar panels to your house supply. The inverter has built-in electrical protection systems that keep you and electrical workers safe.
- Information on the size of your energy system. This allows us to manage network congestion of surplus energy.
Statutory, regulatory and safety requirements
Distributed generation must meet all relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and comply with all applicable safety standards. If you connect distributed generation to our network, safety equipment and procedures must be put in place to ensure safe interaction between your distributed generator and our network.
We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the following documents:
- asset management plan
- network code
- ripple control systems on Orion's network
- Electrical Code of Practice AS/NZS 3000 - Electrical Installations (known as the Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules), which you can purchase and download from www.ess.govt.nz or view for free at your public library
- Electrical Code of Practice AS 4777 which provides standards for connecting inverter-based systems and is a useful guide for installing other forms of generation. You can purchase and download it from www.standards.com.au or view it for free at your public library.
The Electricity Authority provides information on the rights and responsibilities of a person or organisation wanting to connect a distributed generation system to an electricity network and the network provider. Part 6 of the Electricity Authority Code, Connection of Distributed Generation, was updated in February 2015.
The Electricity Authority website also provides a glossary of common industry terms.
For further information on distributed generation, please contact us on 03 363 9731 or email us.