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Incentives/Policies for Energy Efficiency

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Interconnection Standards for Small Generators   

Last DSIRE Review: 10/01/2012
Program Overview:
State: Federal
Incentive Type: Interconnection
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, CHP/Cogeneration, Anaerobic Digestion, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Microturbines, Other Distributed Generation Technologies
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Fed. Government, Agricultural, Institutional
Applicable Utilities:FERC standards generally apply to all transmission-level interconnection; state standards generally apply to distribution-level interconnection
System Capacity Limit:20 MW
Standard Agreement:Yes
Insurance Requirements:"Additional liability insurance" required only "if necessary as a function of owning and operating a generating facility"
External Disconnect Switch:Not addressed
Net Metering Required:No
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
FERC Order No. 2006
5/12/2005
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
FERC Order No. 2006-A
11/22/2005
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
FERC Order No. 2006-B
7/20/2006
Summary:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopted "small generator" interconnection standards for distributed energy resources up to 20 megawatts (MW) in capacity in May 2005.* The FERC's standards apply only to facilities subject to the jurisdiction of the commission; these facilities mostly include those that interconnect at the transmission level. The FERC's standards generally do not apply to distribution-level interconnection, which is regulated by state public utilities commissions. However, the FERC has noted that its interconnection standards for small generators should serve as a useful model for state-level standards.

The FERC's standards include Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP) and a Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (SGIA). The SGIP contains the technical procedures that the small generator and utility must follow in the course of connecting the generator with the utility's lines. The SGIA contains the contractual provisions for the interconnection and spells out who pays for improvements to the utility's electric system (if needed to complete the interconnection). The standards include provisions for three levels of interconnection:

  • The "10-kilowatt (kW) Inverter Process," for certified, inverter-based systems no larger than 10 kW;
     
  • The "Fast Track Process," for certified systems no larger than 2 MW; and
     
  • The default "Study Process," for all other systems no larger than 20 MW.

The standards include technical screens for each level of interconnection. Notably, the FERC standards do not require systems to include an external disconnect switch. Utilities and customers must follow specific timelines, and guidelines for interconnection and study fees are established. Customers must obtain liability insurance "sufficient to insure against all reasonably foreseeable direct liabilities given the size and nature of the generating equipment being interconnected, the interconnection itself, and the characteristics of the system to which the interconnection is made." Additional liability insurance must be obtained "only if necessary as a function of owning and operating a generating facility."


* The FERC adopted interconnection standards for facilities larger than 20 MW in July 2003. (See FERC Order Nos. 2003, 2003-A, 2003-B and 2003-C.) FERC's standards for larger generators include standard Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (LGIP) and a standard Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (LGIA).


 
Contact:
  Public Information - FERC
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426
Web Site: http://www.ferc.gov
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

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