Distributed generation is equipment used to generate electricity for your own use, which is connected to the Aurora Energy electricity distribution network and is capable of supplying electricity back into the network.
Before you get started
When you generate electricity for personal use and connect it to our network, it's known as distributed generation. There is a process for getting this done safely and once it's done, you'll notice a decrease in your power bills.
The Gen Less Solar tool is a calculator that helps you work out the benefits of installing power generation equipment at your place. It's supported by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). We recommend you check it out.
At Aurora Energy, we support solar installations and strive to provide a safe and efficient electricity network, enabling a new energy future. We can generally allow no more than 5kVA of export on a single phase installation.
Here are some important facts about the export limits for single phase solar installations:
Why is there a 5kW export limit?
- To comply with New Zealand industry regulations, we have set a 5kW export limit for single phase installations to ensure we stay within the safe voltage limits.
- This limit takes into account the increasing popularity of solar energy in New Zealand and helps to ensure that all households have equal access to the available network export capacity, rather than first in, first served.
- We anticipate in most locations, the use of modern inverters with Volt-Var and Volt-Watt response modes will enable 5kW of export without impacting the quality of voltage at each household connection.
- The 5kW export limit encourages self-use of solar and customer investment in home energy management systems, electric vehicle smart charging and battery storage which will provide long term benefits.
Can I install more than 5kW of solar generation?
- Yes, we allow installations with more than 5kW of solar on a single phase connection, but you must limit the export to 5kW.
- If your solar generation exceeds 5kW, you have three options:
- Invest in batteries and/or demand/home management systems. Home management systems and batteries increase the flexibility of when you use electricity to better align with solar generation, reducing the need to export above 5kW. This flexibility will become increasingly important as the uptake of electric vehicles increases.
- Alternatively, you can reduce/curtail your solar generation to stay within the export limit.
- Upgrade your connection – see alternatives
Why the 5kW limit matters
- At most locations on our network, exporting more than 5kW of solar energy can lead to over voltage or overloading as more customers opt for solar installations.
- By implementing the 5kW export limit, we aim to provide a fair allocation of export capacity to all customers over time, rather than allowing early solar adopters to use all the spare export capacity in the short-term.
- For more information see our Congestion Management Guide.
- Inverters with Volt-Var and Volt-Watt modes help manage voltage at your home, ensuring safe operation. However, the network voltage must be compliant at all locations on the network and the 5kW export limit helps to ensure that households with solar where voltage is at its highest (at the end of the feeder) are able to equally export to 5kW.
- If you wish to generate and export more power, you can consider the following options:
- Install a 3-phase 60amp supply, allowing up to 10kW of export, or possibly more, with approval from the Aurora Energy Network Planning Team.
- Opt for a 2-phase 60amp supply, also permitting up to 10kW of export.
Keep in mind that both alternatives may result in increased lines charges.
At Aurora Energy we will continue to develop our household solar connection processes and network management to support growing levels of solar integration, as well as other forms of clean energy, and are committed to contributing to NZ’s decarbonisation goals.
An inverter is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your Distributed Generation kit. It converts direct current (DC) electricity from your solar panels or wind turbines into alternate current (AC) electricity so that it can be used in your home and also connect to the electricity network.
Inverters need to be compliant and meet certain standards so that if there is a power outage it will automatically shut down. This keeps our team safe if they’re working on the network to get it back up and running. See which inverters are approved for use on our network. If you have an inverter not listed, you'll need to provide a Certificate of Conformity/Suitability. See the list of approved inverters here.
We need to know the maximum export power of your Distributed Generation connection to safely manage network congestion. We also need to share available capacity. We currently have no known areas of the low-voltage network that will become congested. Here's our Congestion Management Guide (pdf)
Distributed Generation must meet the relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and comply with applicable safety standards. If you connect your Distributed Generation equipment to our network, we must ensure equipment and procedures are in place for a safe connection between your distributed generator and our network.
All inverter-based Distributed Generation must meet the standard AS/NZS 4777.1:2016 (installation requirements). This covers the electrical and safety installation requirements for grid-connected systems.
It also needs to meet the standard AS/NZS 4777.2:2015 (inverter requirements). This covers the minimum performance and safety requirements of the inverters used in your Distributed Generation system when moving electricity from your system to our network.
The Electricity Authority's Regulated Terms from the Electricity Industry Participation Code Part 6.2 also apply. You can find out more on the Electricity Authority's website.
Lastly, all installations must meet the Electrical (Safety) Regulations published on the Work Safe website.
We've compiled a list of the Network Approved Inspectors who have been approved by Aurora Energy to carry out inspection and management of Distribution Generation connections on the Aurora Energy Network.
There are fees for Distributed Generation connections to our network. We've outlined these below.
It's worth noting that connecting Distributed Generation over 10kW capacity is subject to the regulated fee and has longer times to process under the Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010. This is because they require more technical investigation into their effect on the network.
- 10 kW or Less - no charge
- Above 10 kW but less than 100 kW in total - $500
- 100 kW and above but less than 1 MW - $1,000
- 1 MW and above - $5,000
(At our discretion)
- Above 10 kW but less than 100 kW - $120
- 100 kW and above - $1,200
How to get connected
Connecting a small-scale system
For connecting a small-scale system of 10kW or less follow the process for a small-scale connection by clicking the button below.
Connecting a large-scale system
For connecting a large-scale system of more than 10kW follow the large-scale connection process by clicking the button below.