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Interconnection Standards

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Program Info
Sector Name 
State
State 
North Carolina
Program Type 
Interconnection
Summary 

Note: The North Carolina Utilities Commission approved revised interconnection standards in May 2015. The new standards used the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's most recent Small Generator Interconnection Procedures as their basis, but with some modifications. 

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) first adopted comprehensive interconnection standards for distributed generation in 2005. The NCUC later updated the interconnection standards in 2008 and 2015. The current NCUC standards, which are similar to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) interconnection standards for small generators, govern interconnection to the distribution systems of the state's three investor-owned utilities: Duke Energy Progress, Duke Energy Carolinas, and Dominion North Carolina Power.* The standards apply to all state-jurisdictional interconnections (including interconnection of three-phase generators) regardless of the capacity of the generator, the voltage level of the interconnection, or whether the customer intends to offset electricity consumption or sell electricity.

Size Criteria
The NCUC standards, like the FERC standards, use a three-tiered approach to simplify the interconnection process:

  • Inverter Process: Systems up to 20 kilowatts (kW) 
  • Fast Track Process: Systems larger than 20 kW that meet the eligibility criteria in the table below 
  • Study Process: Systems that fail to qualify for the Fast Track Process

Line Voltage Fast Track Eligible Regardless of Location Fast Track Eligibility on a Mainline and less than 2.5 Electrical Circuit Miles from Substation
Less than 5 kV Less than or equal to 100 kW Less than or equal to 500 kW 
Between 5 kV and 15 kV Less than or equal to 1 MW  Less than or equal to 2 MW 
Between 15 kV and 35 kV Less than or equal to 2 MW  Less than or equal to 2 MW 
Greater than or equal to 35 kV Not eligible Not eligible

Insurance

Utilities may not require residential customers to carry liability insurance beyond the amount required by a standard homeowner’s policy ($100,000 minimum). Non-residential generators proposing to interconnect a system no larger than 250 kW are required to carry comprehensive general liability insurance in the amount of at least $300,000. Non-residential generators proposing to interconnect a system that is larger than 250 kW are required to carry comprehensive general liability insurance in the amount of at least $1,000,000. Customers that meet certain eligibility requirements are allowed to self-insure. 

External Disconnect Switch
Utilities are authorized to require an external disconnect switch, but must reimburse owners of systems smaller than 10kW for the cost of the switch. Interconnection agreements are not transferrable; new owners must secure an agreement by filing an interconnection request and submitting a fee of $50. (However, the interconnection will not need to be re-studied.) The standards include a provision for mutual indemnification and a weak process for dispute resolution.

Fees
The NCUC established a fee structure for interconnection applications: $100 for generators up to 20 kW; $250 for generators larger than 20 kW but not larger than 100 kW; and $500 for generators larger than 100 kW but not larger than to 2 MW. The FERC fee structure applies to the interconnection of systems over 2 MW. Additionally, systems in the Study Process must pay a deposit of $20,000, plus $1 per kW-AC, not to exceed $100,000.

Click here for Duke Energy Carolinas' website for interconnection, or here for Duke Energy Progress's, website for interconnection.  

*The NCUC’s interconnection standards do not govern interconnection to municipal utilities or electric cooperatives.

History

Legislation enacted by North Carolina in August 2007 (S.B. 3) required the NCUC to establish interconnection standards for distributed generation systems up to 10 MW in capacity. The law stated that the commission “shall adopt, if appropriate, federal interconnection standards.” This law also established North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS).