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Distributed Generation

Distributed Generation (DG) means equipment used, or proposed to be used, for generating electricity that is:

  • connected, or proposed to be connected, to our network that is directly or indirectly connected to the grid, or to your installation that is connected to our distribution network
  • capable of injecting electricity into our distribution network.

Congestion

Export congestion occurs when electricity injected into our network causes a component in the network (for example, a line) to operate beyond its rated maximum capacity or give rise to an unacceptably high level of voltage at the point of connection to the network. The purpose of identifying areas of the network that are subject to export congestion is to provide you, at the earliest possible time, with information that may impact your decision to invest in distributed generation. Click here to view our Congestion Policy

Congestion Levels for the PowerNet managed Networks are included below:

Simply zoom into your desired location and see if it falls into a highlighted area. If not, it’s likely you are not in a congestion area

Presently there are two specific locations on the PowerNet managed network at which PowerNet is aware of export congestion for small-scale generation connected to the LV network or at which PowerNet expects export congestion for small-scale generation to occur within the next 12 months.

It is highly likely that more export congestion will occur as more generation is connected to the network and it is vital that people considering installing new or additional small-scale generation follow the PowerNet processes. Connection of large-scale generation (1MW or above) will always be engineered on a case-by-case basis.

Distributed Generation may be curtailed or interrupted if it poses a safety risk or is in an area of congestion


Charges

Charges associated with processing applications to connect to generation systems are listed below in Table 1. Approval will not be processed prior to payment of fees being received in full.

DG CapacityApplication Fee (NZD incl. GST)Witness and Commissioning Test Fee (NZD incl. GST)
Up to and including 10kW – Default Application230.0069.00
Up to and including 10kW – Fast Track Application115.0069.00
Over 10kW and up to and including 100kW575.00138.00
Over 100kW and up to and including 1000kW1150.001380.00
Over 1000kW5750.001380.00

Table 1: Application and Witness and Commissioning Test Fees (in New Zealand Dollars including GST)

PowerNet may need to perform further detailed investigative studies to identify any potential adverse effects the DG may have on the system. A fee will be chargeable for this; we will advise you before we approve the connection if this is required.


How do I get connected?

Fast Track Application

If you meet all of the following criteria you can apply for a fast-track application which has reduced application fees:

  • Your maximum export power is less than the export power threshold for your location
  • The inverter(s) AS/NZS 4777.2 compliant.
  • The inverter(s) have the volt-var AND volt-watt enabled.
  • Your total inverter size is 10kW or less

Ask your installer if your set-up can meet these criteria

Default Application

If you can’t meet all of the criteria for the fast-track application, you can still apply for a default application

The Process

If you want to connect DG to our network you should:

  1. Identify if your proposed DG is in an area of congestion and become familiar with our Congestion Policy. If your proposed DG sits in an area of congestion, PowerNet may require you to curtail or temporarily disconnect your DG
  2. Ask your installer if you qualify for a fast-track application or the default application
  3. Ask your installer for an inverter that is on The Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) Approved Inverter List. This will make your application with us much easier.
  4. Ask your installer to set up your inverter according to PowerNet’s Setting for DG Inverter Standard.
  5. Ask your installer to obtain approval from PowerNet by filling out the Application Form. An application fee applies and must accompany this application
  6. Have an arrangement with your electricity retailer
  7. For more information around electricity industry legislation for generating and trading electricity, including Part 6 of the Electricity Industry Participation Code, talk to your installer.
  8. Ensure your installer has completed a Commissioning Checklist and a Certificate of Compliance (CoC) and return to PowerNet within 10 days of completion

For more information see our Planning Guide for Connecting DG to PowerNet