WHAT IS SOLAR INTERCONNECTION?
Once your system is permitted and installed, there’s one final step before you can turn it on and start generating your own power: interconnection with the utility grid.
Most solar owners send the extra power they generate into the local utility grid. But before you can connect, the utility company will need to inspect your system and give you permission to operate.
Like the solar permitting process, interconnection to the grid typically takes about 4 weeks, depending on how quickly your local utility processes applications.
With our Solar Interconnection Service, we’ll handle the paperwork and all communication with the utility company to ensure you get permission to operate as quickly as possible.
To stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we must change where our energy comes from. Switching from energy generated by fossil fuels like gas, coal, and oil to renewable sources like solar and wind can drastically reduce the heat-trapping carbon emissions warming our planet. Profit-driven fossil fuel companies are fighting to keep us locked into using dirty energy, but Earthjustice is using the power of the law to expand and defend the future of solar generation across the U.S. This summer, we worked with our partners to preserve one of the country’s most important incentives for solar energy.
Earlier this year, utilities that want to keep a monopoly on the energy market tried to make it harder for homeowners and small businesses to generate solar energy. Under the cover of COVID, a secretive group tied to these utilities petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to take away our state’s ability to control something very important that most of us have never heard of: net metering.
When your solar energy system — most commonly through rooftop solar panels — generates more electricity than you use, the extra electricity goes out through your electric meter to your neighbors. All of the clean energy from your solar panels offsets your utility bills while adding clean energy and resilience to the grid in your community. This is net metering, and it ensures that solar owners receive fair credit for the solar energy they produce but do not use themselves. It helps make rooftop solar a financial benefit for millions of families and businesses across the country. More than 49 states and territories use this system, and it has been running successfully for nearly 40 years.
SOLAR INTERCONNECTION SERVICE OVERVIEW
Solar Interconnection Paperwork
Interconnection applications can be tedious and confusing, and mistakes can cause delays in the approval process. Let us handle the paperwork for you. We take pride in providing complete and accurate data that matches your electrical diagram, ensuring you get permission to operate as fast as possible.
To minimize delays, we gather information to complete your application very early in the design process. Once we have a finalized plan set, we’ll ask for a copy of your utility bill and a few questions about your usage patterns.
With this info, we submit the interconnection application to get you in the approval queue ASAP – even before your system has been shipped and installed, in many cases. That means less waiting around for the green light to bring your system online.
SOLAR INTERCONNECTION: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long does it take for the utility company to process interconnection applications?
On average we’ve found it takes about four weeks to complete the interconnection process, from submitting the application to final utility approval.
However, this varies greatly depending on how your local utility operates. Some can process them in as little as 1-2 weeks, while others may have a backlog of 8 weeks or more.
In our experience, utilities that process applications online have much shorter lead times, but the majority still require applications to be printed and submitted in person.
Does my system need to be connected to the grid?
Off-grid systems have no connection to the utility grid. As such, they’re exempt from the interconnection process, though they still need to be permitted through your local building authorities.
However, applying for interconnection and receiving permission to operate is mandatory for standard grid-tie systems as well as grid-tie with battery backup. It makes sense: the utility company needs to check that your system meets current requirements before they allow you to connect to their infrastructure.
What is net metering? Which metering program should I choose?
Utilities use a net metering plan to track how much power you produce and consume, which allows them to offset your bill based on your solar production.
Some utilities offer more extensive metering programs that give you more control over how solar works for you. For example, they may buy back excess power you produce, incentivizing solar owners to feed power into the grid.
During the interconnection process, we’ll answer any questions you have about the net metering programs available through your local utility to help you choose the program that’s best for you.
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