The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is praising a proposed rule issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that will, if finalized, expedite and reduce the cost of solar project interconnection while maintaining electric system reliability and safety.
In 2005, FERC issued Order No. 2006, which for the first time established national interconnection procedures applicable to generation projects that are 20MW or less in size and subject to FERC’s wholesale jurisdiction. Order No. 2006 was groundbreaking, and the procedures were voluntarily adopted by many states to apply to the retail interconnection process. However, demand for solar energy has grown dramatically since Order No. 2006 was issued more than seven years ago, and certain aspects of the Order have become unnecessary barriers to cost-effective and timely interconnections.
Seeing a need for updated federal standards, SEIA filed an interconnection rulemaking petition with FERC in February 2012. The proposed rule will allow solar projects that meet certain technical screens to qualify for a “fast track” interconnection process, thus eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming studies. As a result, the amount of solar considered under the “fast track” processes is expected to as much as double.
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA says, “We applaud FERC for recognizing the challenges facing wholesale distributed generation development, which is one of the fastest-growing segments of the solar energy industry. This important proposed rule has the potential to roughly double the amount of solar generation capacity eligible to be fast-tracked in the U.S. At the same time, the proposed rule maintains electric system safety and reliability. On behalf of our member companies, we look forward to working with FERC and interested stakeholders to see this rule to implementation and help to bring more affordable, reliable solar energy to the American people. SEIA also urges the states to consider using FERC’s proposed updated rule as a model and starting point for updating their own interconnection rules.”