Alternative energy - also known as distributed generation - is the equipment used to generate solar power, wind, hydro, gas or biomass energy for your home or business.
Your location or conditions may suit generating your own energy - such as lots of sun or wind, or a running stream of water.
Generating your own electricity can contribute towards sustainability and you may even generate more electricity than you use, which you can store or sell back to an electricity retailer.
However, it can be a complex process and it really pays to look at the cost versus benefits over the life of the electricity system to ensure it’s worth doing.
You can find lots of detailed information on the different technologies available, how they work, along with financial considerations on the EECA website energywise.govt.nz.
Any excess power that you generate can be sold back to an electricity retailer. To do this, you will need to connect to the Northpower network.
Connection to our network will also let you use power provided by Northpower and your electricity retailer when your system is not operating or producing enough energy for your electricity needs.
There's a detailed process for connecting any system to our network because we have to consider things like electrical safety and compliance, our network capacity to handle excess electricity coming into it, along with any adverse effects from a new connection that could interrupt the electricity supply.
Currently there are no specific locations on the Northpower network at which Northpower is aware of export congestion for small-scale generation connected to the LV network or at which Northpower expects export congestion for small-scale generation to occur within the next 12 months. However, it is highly likely that 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 processes in clauses 4.3 and 6 of Northpower’s Technical Requirements for Small Scale Distributed Generation before committing to the purchase of new generation. Connection of large scale generation will always be engineered on a case-by-case basis.
Firstly you'll need to develop your design outlining electricity capacity, energy production and electrical system specifications.
At this point you might want to contact your energy retailer to discuss your proposal and complete any commercial arrangements they require.
The next step is to complete a Distributed Generation Application Form.
First we'll check that our network has capacity and that there will be no adverse effects for our users. We’ll advise if any changes (including additional support) are needed and once this is done we’ll approve your application.
The approval notice will include any relevant technical conditions like maximum net power and power factor.
Contact us when you’re ready to begin installation, and when installation is complete and is ready to connect it needs to be inspected by a registered electrical inspector. They may need to run the generator for testing purposes.
We'll then give you permission to connect to our network once we receive a copy of the inspection report; notification from your energy retailer; and confirmation of compliance with Part 6 of the Electricity Industry Participation Code.
Unless a connection contract has been entered into, small scale distributed generation is generally on regulated terms in accordance with Schedule 6.2 of Part 6 of the Code.
Further detailed information and technical requirements of system design, and process of connecting to our network can be found in our technical requirements for small scale distributed generation (PDF 258KB), or please get in touch.Contact us