NewEnergyNews: ORIGINAL REPORTING: WHY IT CAN TAKE SO LONG TO GET ROOFTOP SOLAR CONNECTED TO THE GRID

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The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, December 8:

  • TTTA Thursday- The Record Of The New EPA Head
  • TTTA Thursday-The Undeveloped New Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-Walking On New Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-Electric Tractor For Emissions-Free.Farming
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Turning Distributed Energy From Threat To Opportunity
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar Policy Action Heats Up
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Maine’s Almost Solar Policy Breakthrough
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How To Balance Competing Solar Interests
  • QUICK NEWS, December 6: Sliver Of Hope? Al Gore In Climate Change Meet With Donald Trump; The Opportunity In New Energy; Google Seizing New Energy Opportunity
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: A Way For New Energy To Meet Peak Demand
  • QUICK NEWS, December 5: Trial Of The Century Coming On Climate; The Wind-Solar Synergy; The Still Rising Sales Of Cars With Plugs
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Trump Truth And Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: The Daily Show Talks Pipeline Politics
  • Weekend Video: Beyond Polar Bears – The Real Science Of Climate Change
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Aussie Farmers Worrying About Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 1
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 2
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy And Historic Buildings In Europe
  • --------------------------

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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

    -------------------

    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, December 10-11:

  • A Climate Change Denier’s Lies Exposed
  • The Good News Numbers On The EV Boom
  • “This Is Just The Beginning”

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: WHY IT CAN TAKE SO LONG TO GET ROOFTOP SOLAR CONNECTED TO THE GRID

    Why it can take so long to get rooftop solar connected to the grid; A new study on interconnection reveals that utilities and installers can both do more to cut delays

    Herman K. Trabish, April 2, 2015 (Utility Dive)

    PV interconnection times used to be like the weather: Everybody complained about them but nobody did much. Like a wholly centralized grid, that’s all over.

    Regulators from New York to California are demanding that utilities meet strict interconnection processing time requirements. Unfortunately, it is not clear their demands are doing any good.

    “Regulations do not limit process timeframes for all installations to the targets specified,” according to a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) entitled "A State-Level Comparison of Processes and Timeli nes for Distributed Photovoltaic Interconnection in the United States."

    “Even when limiting the analysis to project sizes eligible for simplified or fast-track review, we find that interconnection process delays are common and can range from days to several weeks,” the paper states.

    To better understand and describe what is happening, the NREL researchers partnered with 87 utilities in 16 states, including five states with especiallyactive solar markets: Arizona, California, New Jersey, New York, and Colorado. They obtained data on over 30,000 solar PV installations done between 2012 and 2014 in two different size categories, residential systems of up to 10 kilowatts and small commercial systems of between 10 and 50 kilowatts.

    They then established the number of days needed for four interconnection steps:

    Applying for and receiving utility interconnection review and approval

    Constructing the PV system

    Passing a final local jurisdiction building permit inspection and submitting paperwork for permission to operate (PTO, the final authorization for system operation) to the utility

    Receiving PTO from the utility

    For California, New Jersey, New York, and Colorado, they then compared the days needed for utility interconnection application review and approval and PTO to the days allowed under regulatory guidelines.

    How utilities are doing

    There are two things going on, explained NREL Solar Analyst and report co-author Kristen Ardani. Utilities find installers' applications improperly completed, incomplete, or in need of reworking. PV installers complain that utilities hold up reviews in non-transparent, hard-to-track processes.

    To resolve the impasse, regulators in some states, especially those with high solar penetrations, have set varying interconnection timeline requirements for utilities. The highest level of data suggests the requirements are having some effect, but it's been limited.

    “States that have more stringent timeframe requirements have overall lower timeframes for completion of the review process,” Ardani said. “New York has one of the most aggressive timeframes that we looked at and overall New York exhibits shorter more efficient turnaround time for interconnectionapplications.”

    On the other hand, Arizona does not have timeframe requirements yet there was no dramatic difference between its interconnection times and some of the states that do have requirements, Ardani said.

    The researchers' intention was to measure what they could aboutinterconnection processing, and not to answer the question of whether timeframe requirements matter, Ardani explained. But their work inevitably raises the question, though the answer is nuanced.

    “Some states with requirements are underperformers and Arizona, a state with no regulations, falls in line with states that do have regulations but underperform,” Ardani said. “That doesn’t mean Arizona represents best practices, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t efficiency gains to be made and it doesn’t mean regulations don’t matter.”

    It is also not the case that utilities regularly meet state guidelines, that more stringent timelines produce more misses, or that longer timeframes allow for more compliance, Ardani said.

    “The overall impression is that some states do better and some do worse, but in general utilities exceed their required timeframes from 37% to 58% of the time,” she said. “Something is going on and there are things installers can do and things utilities can do.”

    Some solutions for utilities

    The paper is not intended to identify specific causes of delays, Ardani stressed.

    “At the end of the day, what is important is that there are improvements in processes that could help the situation.”

    The Distributed Generation Interconnection Collaborative (DGIC), a working group formed by NREL with the Solar Electric Power Association, the Electric Power Research Institute and Western Area Power Administration, is aimed at (1) identifying and overcoming information gaps, (2) addressing process and technical needs, and (3) enabling informed decision-making and planning.

    “We are trying hard to engage with the solar industry and the utility industryin the discussion,” Ardani said.

    Installers can look at the way they submit forms to better insure they are complete, Ardani said. Utilities can make application requirements simpler and easier to understand and easier to access so installers don’t submit incomplete applications.

    And, she added, utilities can provide an online automated verification tool that identifies mistakes or incompletions in installers’ applications and refuses to allow them to be submitted until they are complete and correct.

    New processes and new software have already begun to allow California utilities like San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to streamline the handling of interconnections and get time and cost savings in several ways, Ardani said.

    For systems that have little potential to cause grid issues, California allows interconnection and PTO paperwork to be filed simultaneously when construction is complete. As a result, the paper reports, “30% of residential and 39% of small commercial projects completed separate interconnection application and PTO paperwork, compared to more than 90% of all projects sampled in Colorado, New York, and New Jersey.”

    “More than half of the projects interconnected under PG&E’s standard net energy metering (NEM) program (up to 30 kW) in 2014 did so without any pre-construction utility application reviews or approvals,” the researchers found.

    In addition, PG&E allows installers to submit an interconnection application before construction for projects larger than 30 kilowatts “to identify anypotential adverse impacts early on and avoid costly, at-risk construction.”

    According to Ardani, the two California IOUs have demonstrated that while new processes and software help customers and help utilities with customer relations, they also save the utility time and cost. “It is an investment in their own business that they need to consider,” she said.

    No QUICK NEWS today. NewEnergyNews is on the road.

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