How to obtain Feed in Tariff (FIT) payments for a grid connected Powerspout installationin England or Wales
Date written:! December 2013
Written by: ! Bill Cave
The legislation applicable to FIT accreditation for micro hydro in England and Wales has changed
repeatedly and is likely to change further in the future.
As of 1 December 2012, the route to accreditation for hydro installations of all sizes was taken out
of the Micro-generation Certification Scheme (MCS) and replaced by the ROOFIT (Renewables
Obligation Order Feed in Tariff) mechanism.
This change meant that Powerspout turbines, which had never gained accreditation under MCS
and were therefore formerly precluded from being eligible for FITs, no longer had to be accredited
in this way to be eligible.
The change also meant that a Powerspout can now be installed by anybody, and does not have to
be put in by an MCS accredited installer.
Most people putting in a Powerspout will be mindful that their installation ought to have permission
for water abstraction from The Environment Agency (in England) or Natural Resources Wales (in
Additionally, most schemes will require Planning Permission (from the local council or National
Park, if within one) even though no building to house the Powerspout is anticipated.
The thing to know about all these permissions is that at no point in the application process to
Ofgem (Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority) for accreditation for FITs do you have
to say whether you have obtained planning approval or permission for water abstraction. Strange,
but thatʼs the way it is, at least at the date of writing. So if you choose to do your scheme “below
the bureaucratic radar”, you can still apply for FITs.
To do everything “above board”, the following are the steps required, but they can be done
retrospectively, after you have installed and commissioned your turbine, though you might be
made to make alterations if what you have done does not meet their requirements:
1. Abstraction / water impoundment licence, including meeting fisheries conditions
2. Planning permission for abstraction site, pipeline and turbine site
3. Notification to the District Network Operator (DNO) within 28 days of connecting to the grid
4. Application to OFGEM for accreditation for FITS under the ROOFIT mechanism
5. Application to your chosen FIT licensee (usually the company supplying your grid energy) by
providing them with the accreditation number given you by OFGEM.
The timing of these steps is: 1, 2 and 4 can be done concurrently, 3 MUST be done within the time
scale given, for safety reasons for power line workers, and 5 can only be done when 4 has been
So my “How to” steps for dealing with just the OFGEM stage are as follows, and these can be
found hidden, mostly, in the official guidance, version 6, on the OFGEM website here
1. Set up your Ofgem account at https://www.renewablesandchp.ofgem.gov.uk/ At your first visit to
the web site, donʼt bother to enter a username and password. Just click on “register” and you
will be led through forms to enter your account details. Once you have registered, you can go to
your account at any future time directly from the login page, using the username and password
you set up when registering, then clicking on “go”. Donʼt click on “register” again which is very
near to “go”.
2. You will now need to fill in multiple questions regarding your Powerspout installation by clicking
on Accreditation > Apply for new accreditation. There are a lot to answer. You donʼt have to do it
in one sitting. You can log out and come back to it. At each visit save what you have entered but do not submit it until all the questions have been completed and you have ready for uploading
all the information (as attachments) they request.
3. Most questions are self explanatory. TIC and DNC can however be confusing. For a
Powerspout connecting to the grid via an inverter, which itself consumes some of the generated
power, TIC (total installed capacity) is the power into the inverter. This will be the figure the
EcoInnovation Powerspout calculator gave you for “power to your shed”, - so long as your
installation doesnʼt have too many inefficiencies to detract from the calculated figure, and so
long as your figures entered to the calculator were correct.
4. DNC (declared net capacity) is the TIC less the power consumed by the inverter, so it is the
power out from the inverter to the grid. The inverter display, whilst not being totally accurate, will
give an acceptable figure for DNC. It will usually be 50 to 100 watts less than TIC. For my
scheme the TIC was entered as 0.8 kW and the DNC as 0.75kW.
5. The figures for TIC and DNC are based on the electrical power generated at the maximum
water flow you anticipate operating your Powerspout on continuously. Since you can actually
make use of more water when it is available, simply by putting in bigger nozzles, deciding what
is the maximum flow, and by extension what the TIC and DNC are, becomes a rather theoretical
exercise of plucking a maximum flow figure from thin air. But you have to choose a figure,
because TIC is a very important parameter for Ofgem. Choose a figure and stick with it. Donʼt
lose sleep if it may not be the all time maximum you ever get continuously from your installation.
6. QF154 asks for the MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number) of your electricity meter. This,
in its full form, is a 21 digit number but you only need to put in the terminal 13 digits. You can
often find it on your electricity bill or if not there, ask your electricity supplier to give it to you.
7. QF528 asks about how exported electricity will be measured. You will be unlikely to have an
export meter (you will just have a generation meter) so the answer is “it will be deemed”. Later
on when you apply to your FIT licensee (the company who actually pays you) the accepted rate
for hydro deeming is 75% of total generation. This is very good news because a Powerspoutʼs
output will always be so low that almost all you generate will be used in the house, but
nevertheless youʼll get paid export tariff (in addition to the generation tariff) for 75% of what you
8. QI100 asks you to provide a single line, schematic drawing of the generating station. This
should conform to the specification laid out on page 22 of the G83/2 document found here, and
this will have been the same diagram you will have needed to submit to your DNO (District
Network Operator) informing them that you have connected to their grid. You will also have to
display this diagram in your utilities meter box so their workers are informed that there is an
SSEG (small scale embedded generator) at this address.
9. After you have finally completed all the questions and attached any supporting documents to be
uploaded with the completed questionnaire, you can submit it. Within 24 hours you will get back
a “Receipt of accreditation application” by email. This will confirm the date you entered
under QF461, your eligibility (sometimes called effective) date. It is the date which, when your
application is finally successful some 6 months down the line, marks the start of when you can
claim FITs payments from. You will have entered under QF460 what your meter reading was on
this date, so no matter how long OFGEM take to process your application, when it comes
through, you will get paid from that date.
10.Ofgem operates a 3 stage review process and it takes time. You will receive ʻqueriesʼ about
your application as it moves through the stages and you are notified of these by email but you
have to log in to your Ofgem account to deal with them. For me they asked for independent
confirmation of TIC. After some to-ing and fro-ing, they eventually found satisfaction in my
How to obtain Feed in Tariff (FIT) payments for a grid connected Powerspout installation
in England or Wales
submitting a copy of EcoInnovationʼs Calculator for my site, which had to have the site name
referenced at the top, and a supporting email from Michael Lawley, as the manufacturer,
confirming the accuracy / truth of the figures.
11.They may also ask for a copy of the G83 test figures obtained by the installer at the time of
commissioning. If you installed and commissioned the scheme yourself, this request can
appear daunting as you will not have done these tests. But the question has been asked
because the Ofgem reviewer has not properly understood the kind of hydro a Powerspout is,
and that is because there are not many of them around. These G83 tests really only apply to
hydro sites which generate at mains voltage and connect directly to the grid (Type B installations
in G83 parlance). Since a Powerspout generates a dc voltage and interfaces with the grid via
an inverter (Type A installations), the G83 regulations only require that the test results for the
inverter be supplied. Inverters are allowed to be “type tested” in factory and it is sufficient to
supply Ofgem with the signed and dated type test certificate for your inverter. For an SMA
SunnyBoy 1200 inverter, this is available here. Essentially, the legislation surrounding the
commissioning of a Powerspout is no different from that for photo voltaic installations, except
that PV FITs applications pass through the MCS route, not the ROOFIT route. But take note
that this similarity to PV will mean that you must have a qualified electrician to do the final wiring
and sign off your grid connection as being compliant with Regs 4 & 7 of the Building Regs 2010
for England and Wales. Any electrician who regularly does PV grid connections can do this for
you. The certificate he supplies will be one of the documents you will have to upload to Ofgem
as an attachment.
12.A word about G83 regulations because they are changing. G83 is the industry standard which
defines the requirements of electrical equipment that interfaces an SSEG (small scale
embedded generator) with the grid. The original document, G83/1, which was amended in June
2008 to become G83/1-1, has been superceded now by G83/2. This was issued in December
2012 but only comes into force fully on 1 March 2014. This ʻgrace periodʼ was in recognition
that equipment manufacturers require time to implement the changes incorporated in G83/2.
What it does mean, if you are installing your Powerspout after 1 March 2014, is that you must
have an inverter which is G83/2 compliant, not just G83/1-1 compliant. Beware suppliers offloading
old stock cheaply which you will not legally be able to use. You can read about the
essential differences between G83/1-1 and G83/2 here. Full details of G83/2 can be found
under the link in 7 above.
13.The process of applying for Ofgem accreditation can be exasperating. They are not quick.
Sending a polite enquiry asking where your application has got to in their system seemed to get
results each time I did it, - but I needed to do it repeatedly. Applying for planning permission and
an abstraction licence at the same time as your Ofgem accreditation can make you go bananas.
But stick at it. Bureaucracy is there to be defeated and it is great when you win through ! You
will get an email headed “Confirmation of FIT accreditation”.
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