Milan Rashevski is an architect, energy efficiency consultant, research fellow at BAS. In 2019, he installed a 5 kW photovoltaic system on the roof of his family house to study the process. We sought him out to describe the step-by-step administrative process of installing and connecting to the power grid in order to sell surplus energy produced to the utility.
Mr. Raszewski, what is the first thing that needs to be done to start the process of installing solar panels on the roof of a family house? Is the energy to be produced for the needs of the household and the surplus to be fed back into the grid, i.e. bought by the relevant energy distribution company (EDC)?
– From the consumer’s point of view, a techno-economic analysis should be carried out, including an assessment of the available areas, exposure and shading, estimated production (by month and year), choice of appliances, analysis of connection conditions and purchase prices, etc.
From an administrative point of view, a statement (preliminary contract) for connection must be requested from the relevant EDP, stating the intended peak capacity and that only the surplus will be sold. Additional information on the granted use account, estimated production, etc. can also be requested. A copy of the deed or a copy of the lease agreement with the notarized consent of the owner, as well as a sketch of the property issued by the relevant municipality must be attached. The deadline for issuing an opinion is 30 calendar days. A fee is payable according to the terms and conditions of the company concerned. Instructions can be found here.
What documents need to be prepared and submitted to the relevant municipality and energy distribution company?
– A sketch from the municipality and proof of ownership/tenancy are required for the issuance of a preliminary opinion by the utility.
For a building permit from the respective municipality you need a sketch/design permit (depending on the municipality it may not be required: Art. 140, para. 6, Building Code), a design of the electrical part (schematics, drawings, notes) by a competent person, a structural opinion on the load-bearing capacity of the roof by a competent person, an application for a building permit. It is recommended to speak directly with the Chief Architect of the municipality in advance about what design parts or opinions he wants to see to avoid delays.
For the connection contract to the respective EPC, the preliminary opinion, the design of the electrical part, the building permit from the municipality are required. A connection fee is payable. The contract must be concluded at the latest 6 months after the preliminary opinion has been issued.
After the conclusion of the connection contract, the construction of the installation follows.
Upon completion of the installation, an Application for Completion of Installation shall be submitted and shall be accompanied by:
– Declaration of conformity of panels and inverter (may also be requested for cable or accumulators if provided) – from the investor;
– a declaration by the person referred to in Article 20a of the Energy Industry Act for the installation of the equipment in accordance with the technical requirements – amend. – SG No. 33 of 2014;
– a protocol with the values of the main set parameters of triggering and time delay for each protection – from the company;
– drawings/documentation in case of minor changes during construction –
if copies of the design (executives) are requested – from the investor;
The application for sale (purchase) of electricity generated by RES producers up to 30 kV shall be accompanied by:
– a declaration that he/she accepts to use the network under the General Conditions for obtaining access to the distribution network of the operator;
– a copy of the contract for the purchase of the generated electricity with the EPC company (up to 30 kV);
– proof of payment of the connection fee.
The last step is the conclusion of a sales (purchase) contract and the issuance of a live order.
Is there a time limit for the relevant municipality and utility to move the paperwork forward and issue the appropriate opinion and permit?
– For the preliminary opinion from the EDC, the deadline is 30 calendar days. There is no deadline for the approval of the investment project by the municipal expert commission. The practice is usually between 1 and 3 months if there is no return of the project. If approved, an application for a building permit is submitted and should be ready within 7 days. The contract for connection to the relevant EDP must be concluded no later than 6 months from the date of the preliminary opinion.There is no time limit set for the protocol with the values of the main trigger parameters set issued by the company. This is the most difficult and slow step. The practice is between 1 and 9 months. It is issued after a site visit and inspection of the facilities. There is also no set time limit for the determination of the connection fee that the investor has to pay with the application for the sale (purchase) of the electricity generated from the RES. And the sales contract itself has to be concluded within 7 days of the application.
What is the investment for the solar system itself if it is for example 5 kW?
– Between 1200 and 1800 BGN / kW without VAT, without batteries (between 6 and 9 thousand BGN for 5 kW). This price usually includes the administrative fees for the preparation of the process. The price depends on the importer of the panels (whether Chinese or imported from Germany), the type of inverter, the complexity of the installation (tiled roof, flat, metal, other), the length of the connections to the connection point, etc.