NOTE: On March 2016, the NY Public Service Commission (PSC) modified the Standard Interconnection Requirements (SIR) increasing the maximum threshold for interconnection capacity of distributed generation projects from previous 2 MW to 5 MW. The final version of the updated SIR document can be accessed here.
New York first adopted uniform interconnection standards in 1999 (see history below). The Standard Interconnection Requirements (SIR) have subsequently been amended several times since, most recently with the adoption of far reaching revisions in February 2009. Several more minor revisions necessitated by changing net metering laws have taken place since that time. Amendments were made to the SIR in March 2013 in order to simplify and expedite the interconnection application and review process, and to adopt changes made to net metering law in 2012. The most recent amendments were made in March 2016 which increased the maximum interconnection capacity from previous two megawatts to five megawatts.
The SIR rules apply to systems up to five megawatts (MW) in capacity connected in parallel with the distribution system located in the service area of one of New York's six investor-owned local electric utilities: Central Hudson Gas and Electric, Consolidated Edison (Con Edison), New York State Electric & Gas, Niagara Mohawk (d/b/a National Grid), Orange and Rockland Utilities, and Rochester Gas and Electric. Generation facilities that are not designed to operate in parallel with the utility’s electrical systems is not subject to these requirements.
The SIR addresses technical guidelines for interconnection and application procedures, with two separate sets of interconnection procedures and processes.
Expedited Process: As amended in 2013, systems up to 50 kW are eligible for a simplified or expedited six-step process. Systems up to 300 kW may be eligible for this provided that the inverter based system is UL 1741 certified and tested. Systems proposed to be installed in underground network areas may be required to submit additional information and may subject to a longer review process. Systems of 50 kW or less are not charged an application fee.
Basic Process: This process applies to all systems larger than 50 kW up to 5 MW, and systems between 50 kW and 300 kW that have not been certified and tested in accordance with UL 1741, applicants must use the basic 11-step process for interconnection as detailed in the SIR.
Both processes cover the initial inquiry to final utility acceptance for interconnection and include interconnection timelines, responsibility for interconnection costs, and procedures for dispute resolution. The appendices contain a standard contract and standard application forms. Utilities are also required to maintain a web-based system for providing information on the status of interconnection requests to customers and contractors. The SIR contain minimum content requirements for this information system, and also require that utilities offer a web-based application process for systems of 25 kW or less.
A current list of type-tested equipment is available on the PSC's DG web site. Certified, inverter-based systems up to 25 kW are not required to have an external disconnect switch. The requirements specifically state that utilities are not permitted to require customers to purchase general liability insurance; however, the PSC does encourage distributed generation owners to purchase insurance for their own protection.
New York was the second state to adopt uniform interconnection standards for distributed generation (DG) systems. The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) originally adopted Standard Interconnection Requirements (SIR) for systems up to 300 kilowatts (kW) in capacity in December 1999. However, because of concerns over some of the burdensome procedural issues, the PSC amended its rules in November 2002. These changes streamlined the application process, and provided a more ordered progression for the study and review phases of the procedure. Subsequently, in November 2004 the PSC issued an order further modifying the SIR by increasing the maximum capacity of interconnected systems from 300 kW to 2 megawatts (MW) and expanding interconnection to the state's area networks, which serve parts of large, urban areas (including New York City).