Small-Scale Solar PV Systems Regulations
- 27 Sep
Small-Scale Solar PV Systems Regulations
The Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA) in Saudi Arabia has issued a regulatory framework regarding self-consumption of electricity consumers and export of surplus energy to the national grid using small-scale solar photovoltaic systems.
These regulations aim to promote the connection of small-scale solar PV systems to the distribution system, establish a net metering scheme, as well as ensure efficient and safe construction, installation, maintenance and operation of these PV systems within Saudi Arabia.
Application and Conditions
The Small Solar PV Systems
The consumer may install small-scale solar PV systems under net metering arrangement that has the following conditions:
-It should be within the permissible rated capacity as defined under these regulations.
-It shall be located in the premises of the consumer.
-The systems shall not exceed a capacity of 1 MW in one premise.
-It shall not exceed an aggregate capacity of 5 MW in the area of supply at any electricity department.
-It shall not be less than 1 kW.
-It shall connect and operate safely with the distribution system.
-Its connection complies with the Distribution Code requirements, as amended from time to time.
The Net Metering Arrangement
This scheme allows you to receive credit for excess renewable electricity delivered to the grid. Generated surplus electricity shall be exported to the distribution system, recorded in the billing system, and carried forward on one consumption account only. Surplus units will be rolled over for a period of three years. At the end of the period, the distribution service provider (DSP) shall pay the consumer a Tariff prepared by the DSP and submitted to the ECRA for approval.
These regulations apply to all categories of consumers; however, the DSP, which was licensed by ECRA to own and maintain a network on the distribution system, should prioritize the availability of the net metering arrangements of residential, commercial, government, and agriculture consumers.
To qualify as a consumer of small-scale solar PV systems with the net metering scheme, you shall meet the following requirements:
-Be a consumer of the DSP
-Have the necessary municipal permit(s) and agreements relating to the small-scale solar PV systems
-Must be in legal possession of the premises on which the small-scale solar PV system is supposed to be installed
-Connect the proposed small-scale solar PV system to the distribution system
The Metering System
The DSP will supply two meters that need to be installed to measure the electricity consumed. The first meter, which the DSP will bear the cost, should be bidirectional – compared to traditional, this meter can provide three readings: delivery, receiving, and the net. It will measure the energy injected and consumed into the distribution system.
The second meter, which the consumer must pay, will measure the electricity generated by the small-scale solar PV. This is also used for small-scale solar PV systems which already reached the capacity, exceeding 100kW. The DSP and the certified contractor or consultant responsible for carrying out the electrical installations work on the systems shall inspect the meter before taking action.
The consumer should be able to comply with the following requirements and processes:
-Submit a complete application for the connection of the small-scale solar PV system.
-Pay the relevant fees and charges for connection and inspection which are set by the DSP and approved by ECRA.
-Submit to the DSP an evidence of material compliance with the Saudi or equivalent International standards (PV modules, inverters, etc.)
-Only a certified Solar PV contractor or consultant shall carry out the design and specification of the small-scale solar PV system.
-A certified contractor or consultant may also be appointed to carry out any electrical installations works and liaise with the DSP on the submittals, drawing approvals, and inspection processes.
-The consumer shall obtain the necessary municipal permits prior to connection and energization of the small-scale solar PV installation in accordance with any applicable legislation.
Step 1: Selection of Solar PV Contractor or Consultant
The consumer wishing to install a small-scale solar PV system shall pick a DSP-approved solar PV contractor or consultant who shall be responsible for carrying out electrical installations work. So make sure you choose an authorized person.
Step 2: Solar PV Initial Enquiry
The consumer is required to submit an application form for a small-scale solar PV system connection, including all necessary information and documents regarding the proposed geographical location for the system, and also an application fee.
After the application, the DSP shall carry out an impact study – an assessment of the proposed location from the consumer. They may request the consumer to provide a detailed planning data that is listed from the planning code of the distribution code. This is to govern the relationship between a distribution licensee and its system’s users, ensuring the technical aspects are operated well.
The DSP shall inform the consumer within 20 working days from the submission of the application whether it is approved or not. The approval will be accompanied by a municipality permit which will be valid for 180 days since it was issued.
Step 3: Municipal Permits Application
The consumer shall obtain the following municipal permits of the small-scale solar PV system installation which the certified consultant or contractor can also get:
-Small-scale solar PV installation aesthetics to the surrounding area
Step 4: Design Approval
As required by the DSP, a design approval application form shall be submitted by the consumer, including some comprehensive documents and information to be validated. This is to carry out the electrical installation work and to comply with the standards and regulations of electrical installations.
For the approval, the design should maintain the standards of the distribution network which shall notify the consumer and will calculate the connection fees to be charged. Within 10 business days from the payment, two copies of a connection agreement containing the terms and conditions shall be signed by both parties – one copy id for the DSP and the other is for the consumer.
Step 5: Inspection and Energization
Following the construction of the small-scale solar PV system, the consumer then submits an inspection application to the DSP, together with some comprehensive documents. Installation of meters and commissioning tests will follow before the system can be fully energized. The DSP will then issue a final inspection report certifying the successful installation.
DSP Billing and Reporting
Through the use of the metering infrastructure, the DSP shall develop and submit an appropriate consumption bill to ensure efficient communication between the net metering scheme and the customer. The bill shall contain the following information:
-The number of energy units exported
-The number of energy units imported
-Accumulated credit energy units due to surplus energy generated and exported to the distribution system
-Net energy units due to credit energy units within the current billing cycle
-Carried forward credit energy units for future billing cycles
The DSP will also report to the ECRA on January 31st of each calendar year. The report will include the uptake, total energy units, aggregated peak capacity, the approved and connected installations, as well as the approved small-scale solar PV systems which have not been connected.
As these new regulations are essential towards Saudi Arabia’s deployment of alternative energy sources, our services in EGPHIL Solar Solutions will give you an excellent experience by providing a turn-key solution to an efficient PV system in Saudi Arabia. For more details, give us a call on +966 12 668 1177.