Do you know what a DNO is?

Read our article to find out more about DNO’s for solar panels.

To install any form of energy device that is going to be connected to the National Grid, you must notify your DNO. This includes systems for your home and business.

A system's size dictates the documentation required.

What is a DNO?

What does DNO stand for? Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

DNOs are licensed companies that carry electricity from the grid to your local area.

What is a Distribution Network Operator?

Distribution Network Operators are responsible for distributing power in your region. There are 14 different DNO districts, each of which is owned by a group.

To find out who your local Distribution Network Operator is, simply input your postcode into the Electricity Network Association’s (ENA) website.

There are a few different companies that service the different areas of the UK. Only DNOs are licensed to operate the cables and towers in your area

When a person installs solar PV at their home, they need DNO approval. Operating under a DNO allows the solar installation to safely connect to the grid, while the solar PV installations allow people to receive extra energy.

You can find your relevant DNO on our handy map. DNOs are owned by 6 main energy networks.

map of the electricity distribution networks in the UK

Why Are DNOs Important?

DNOs are important because they are one of the most common types of energy suppliers in the UK. DNOs typically focus on solar PV installation, but some companies offer other renewable energy as well, such as wind turbines. DNOs are important because they offer homeowners and businesses a way to save on their energy bills and minimize their carbon footprint through clean energy.

In order to profit from supplying solar PV installation, DNOs need to be licensed and certified by the government to ensure they are meeting all necessary requirements.

You need permissions from your DNO if you are installing an off-grid system because you are directly connecting it to the grid for power. This is necessary so that when many electric devices increase in the future, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps, the national grid can cope with the extra load and strain. This is important for reducing blackouts and managing the energy grid.

Why are there DNOs for solar panels?

Solar panel DNO’s are important because they allow you to access the SEG scheme.

You won't be eligible for SEG payments if you have a solar PV system without a DNO certificate.

To install a safe solar power system, you must contact an approved installer, such as Smart Energy. All solar panels must be under 16 amps per phase in order to qualify as a small-scale system. If you're unsure of the size of your installation, it's best to contact your solar panel installer.

DNO G99 Applications for solar panels

If the installation is over a certain limit you will need approval from your distribution network operator. You may have to wait 8-12 weeks for approval because the DNO needs to test whether the grid can handle the extra load. If you are installing equipment rated 50 kW or higher, then you will also need to complete a Standard Application Form for approval.

After your DNO application has been assessed, a connection offer will be made. The first outcome of the application is a connection being offered with no charges. If an installation is required or desired this additional fee will be mentioned and can be discussed between parties.

As long as you have received permission, you can now proceed with the installation of your system. There are some systems that have an export limitation--this is an extra fee. Some charges may be charged for a witness test. You’ll need to upgrade your supply size to go ahead with the installation of your solar panels--you may need to pay a pricey charge depending on the site.

How much does a DNO application cost?

A G98 DNO application is free. This is because it is known as a “connect and notify” and covers small systems, which are under 16a per phase.

For larger systems, covered by G99 and G100 applications, there is a fee, usually between £300 and £750. 

Most home solar systems will be covered by a G98.

There is a recent demand for renewable energy in the UK, so waiting periods have increased. If you want to bring solar panels to your home and get them installed, it usually takes 3 months. However, G98 applications are currently taking up to 6 months due to demand.