This past March, the NY Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an official update to its Standard Interconnection Requirements (SIR) regarding New York grid connection for solar and other distributed resources. The updated guidelines allow for more standardized and expedient interconnection of projects to the New York state grid. By putting in place a simpler process for developers to acquire key initial circuit information and requiring fewer projects to obtain full studies, the new requirements ease the burden placed on state utilities to monitor applications submitted to the interconnection queue. The New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) has also committed to hosting a number of briefings and full training sessions on the updated SIR and how member companies should navigate it for optimal benefit going forward.
Crafted after months of cooperation between leading stakeholders in the solar industry including the NYSEIA, Joint Utilities, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and NY Department of Public Service (DPS), the PSC produced this updated legislation in response to the state’s current Energy Plan goals and new Clean Energy Standard. In addition, the changes include a new NY Interconnection Technical Working Group (NYITWC) and ombudpersons established to resolve remaining issues that the updated guidelines fail to address.
The updated NY Solar Interconnection Standards include the following protocol:
- Pre-application report whereby developers may request key information on circuits and specific substations of interest without needing to submit a full application to the interconnection queue
- With a $750 fee and an average timeline of ten business days, this preliminary step can cover the actual interconnection application cost if filed within the required timeline, thereby increasing the efficiency of the interconnection application process as utilities move closer to the future development of hosting capacity maps.
- State-wide technical screens–some mandatory, some optional–to expedite qualifying projects to execution with no upgrades and no study; elimination of blanket upgrade requirements for projects that don’t require a CESIR study (per the screening process described above)
- Interconnection contract execution payment for projects with a completed CESIR study reduced from 100% of upgrade costs to just 25% of those costs, accompanied by a detailed per-item cost estimate by the utility
- Projects up to 5MW now allowed to be processed through the SIR, but keeps the current 2MW net-metering limit in place (making it unlikely that this 5MW upper limit will be used initially)
Items not included but scheduled to be worked on by ITWG in the near future
- Established best practice standards on technical issues such as substation level reverse power flow, remote monitoring requirements, control and protection issues like direct transfer trip (DTT) requirements and other anti-islanding protection schemes, and voltage flicker and regulation
- Addition of enforcement incentives for utilities to meet interconnection process timelines and cost estimates
- Increased queue transparency and formal queue management processes including exploration of site control requirement
- Improvements to supplemental screen implementation and clearer minimum load screenings
- Elimination of customer name requirement for interconnection applications and ability to update name/address on circuit section
- Process for updating initial reviews as well as Coordinated Electric System Interconnection Reviews after minor system configuration changes and interconnection cost sharing options to mitigate higher cost upgrades that would benefit multiple projects
Be on the lookout for more information as the new Solar Interconnection Standards are put into effect in New York over the next few months!
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