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Interconnection Standards

Fed. Government
Local Government
State Government
Savings Category 
Fuel Cells
Program Info
North Carolina
Program Type 
North Carolina Utilities Commission

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) adopted comprehensive interconnection standards for distributed generation in June 2008. The 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: Progress Energy, Duke Energy 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.

The NCUC standards, like the FERC standards, use a three-tiered approach to simplify the interconnection process:
* Systems up to 10 kilowatts (kW) must follow the 10-kW "inverter process" of simplified interconnection;
* Systems larger than 10 kW and up to two megawatts (MW) must follow the "fast-track process;" and
* Systems greater than 2 MW must follow the "study process."
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 are required to carry comprehensive general liability insurance ($300,000 minimum). Customers that meet certain eligibility requirements are allowed to self-insure. Generators are responsible only for the costs of upgrades and improvements directly associated with a system's interconnection, but these costs may be determined by utilities.

As specified in a December 2008 [ order], 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.

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.

The NCUC has ruled that renewable-energy credits (RECs) generally remain the property of the system owner. However, for net-metered systems, any net excess generation (NEG) and the RECs associated with NEG are granted to the utility once annually.

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).

Click [ here] for Duke Energy's web site for interconnection, or [ here] for Progress Energy's web site for interconnection.

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