Micro generation embraces a range of technologies that are presently at varying stages of development and commercial availability. These include:
- small wind generators
- micro-hydro generation
- small-scale photovoltaic (PV) arrays
- domestic scale Combined Heat and Power (DCHP) equipment
The draft European standard EN 50438 outlines the requirements for the connection of micro-generators in parallel with public low-voltage distribution networks and defines micro generation as a source of electrical energy and all associated equipment designed to operate in parallel with the low voltage system, rated up to and including:
- 25A at low voltage[230V], when the network connection is single phase, or
- 16A at low voltage [230/400V], when the network connection is three phase.
The above specifications represent an installation of circa 5.75 kWe. A domestic customer typically has a maximum electricity import capacity of 12 kWe. Thus by installing a micogeneration unit a domestic customers may be able to produce up to half their electricity needs, this is of course dependent on numerous parameters inclusive of the size and type of microgeneration unit to be adopted.
As penetration of micro generation is increasing, the CER has recognised the need to set out clear rules regarding installation and operation of micro generation and is now starting a series of consultations on this issue.
For current consultations on micro generation click here.
- Metering Options for Small-Scale Renewable and CHP Electricity Generation in Ireland. (SEI, 2005)
- Cost and Benefits of Embedded Generation in Ireland (SEI 2004).