Grants available for costly renewable energy generation kit upgrades

Farmers have just weeks left to apply for thousands of pounds of funding to cover the cost of making their electricity generation equipment compliant with new regulations.

Under new mandatory rules relating to the Distribution Code – the technical requirements relating to the connection to electricity distribution systems – generator owners need to update features relating to inverters, converters and G59 relays.

This equipment helps to protect the generator and the network from potential faults.

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The upgrades, which are intended to make electricity generation more reliable and strengthen the electricity network, cost anywhere from £1,500 to £4,000, but a grant is available until 10 May which in most cases will cover the entire cost.

The funding is part of the Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme, a scheme operated by National Grid Electricity System Operator and the GB Distribution Network Operators (DNOs).

If farmers don’t apply for the funding before 10 May they will still need to have the upgrades completed by 1 September, but pay for it themselves.

Which generators does the grant cover?

  • Systems installed before February 2018 or, in some cases, July 2018
  • Capacity of between 11kW and 50MW
  • Connected via the G59 engineering requirement of the Distribution Code.

What is the grant worth?

There are two levels of funding.

The first applies to the inverter that connects the generator to the distribution network, with £1,500 available for the upgrade on the settings on the first relay, and £500 for each additional setting upgrade needed.

The second grant is for outdated relays that need to be replaced – £4,000 for each replacement.

In most cases the grant will cover all the work, although this will depend on the contractor, so check this.

Do I apply for the grant before doing the work?

Although different DNOs have different processes, with the deadline less than four weeks away it is advisable to get your application in first.

Many farmers who have already done the work and received the grant have hired a contractor to deal with the entire process, from applying for the grant to getting the work done.

Details of the application process can be found at futureproofyourpower.co.uk

What if I don’t upgrade my equipment?

There is likely to be enforcement action by Ofgem to stop your electricity generation process.

Compliance is being monitored because generator owners must submit compliance declarations and evidence to support this by midnight on 31 August through the Energy Networks Association portal.

What if my generator is already compliant?

You have to declare this with supporting evidence, again through the ENA portal, and by midnight on 31 August.

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