Source: North American Clean Energy
Getting started – the interconnection process
During a typical installation of any distributed energy resource throughout the U.S., an interconnection application (detailing specifications of the systems being installed) must be submitted to the local utility. This applies to both large-scale and residential facilities, including solar power systems (which are classified as generators). The utility uses this information to verify that quality standards and interconnection requirements are met, to ensure proper operation of the resource on the power grid. This engineering review process also guarantees that the generator will be able to synchronize in frequency, total harmonic distortion (THD), and voltage with applicable grid standards.
After the application is submitted by the installer, the utility provides data on the interconnection point and assigns it to the developer. However, if the system being installed exceeds the capacity of the electrical infrastructure (transformers, power cables, protection devices), then the power utility must identify any updates that are needed, along with the inherent costs involved. Once all of these aspects are evaluated, an interconnection agreement is signed between the two parties. Then, once the system is installed, the utility performs an inspection and grants permission to operate.
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