On 30 June 2015, Ofgem released their 9th version of Guidance for Renewable Installations.

Notable updates include modifications to the Electricity Supplier Licence condition which affect the classification and tariffs for large-scale Solar PV project, as well as amendments to the FIT Order. This follows on from the Government’s support for Solar PV as published in their May 2015 Consultation.

Ofgem have also updated their guidance on Planning Permission to reflect changes to the Permitted Development rights in England as well as commenting further in respect of the definition of “Site”, in order to provide clarity as a result of recent queries from Community Organisations.

Defining “Site”

Before accreditation, Ofgem must assess the “Site” of all installations powered by the same low carbon energy source. The assessment criteria has been amended so that where an installation is grid connected, the “Site” is determined by:

–       The MPAN of the meter measuring the supply of electricity to the installation.

–       All electrical or mechanical interactions (e.g. shared inverters, generators, turbines, gas blowers or control systems).

This means that subject to the exemptions listed below, all installations powered by the same low carbon energy source that connect to the grid with the same import/export MPAN(s) will be considered a single Site.

However, where installations powered by the same low carbon energy source connect to the grid via separate MPANs and share no electrical, mechanical or civil works or structure, they will be considered as separate Sites.

Exemptions

There are four scenarios where Ofgem will not take into account the supply MPAN in their Site assessment:

1. Where 2 or more installations of the same low carbon energy source are attached to separate self-contained private residential dwellings, e.g. Park Homes.

2. Where 2 or more hydro installations are supplied with water by or from different civil works.

3. Where 2 or more hydro installations are supplied with water by or from the same civil works and 1 or more of those installations are driven by a statutory compensation flow.

4. Where 1 more than 2 installations share a grid connection and at least 1 of them is owned, or will be owned by a “community organisation”.

Therefore, certain installations sharing a grid connection but which are not otherwise electrically or mechanically connected, can be considered as separate “Sites”.

The clarity Ofgem has provided to the definition of “Site” has helped to lessen any confusion caused by splitting the community element from the developer element in a Community Project.   Indeed these clearer definitions are certainly a step in the right direction for community led renewable projects.

Sonya Bedford is the head of our renewable energy team and has experience arranging shared grid connections and community installations.  If you would like any more information on this or other renewable energy issues, please contact the renewables team at Stephens Scown on 01392 210700 or email renewables@stephens-scown.co.uk has particular experience arranging shared grid connections and community installations.