The sixth edition of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc.’s (IREC) Connecting to the Grid Guide is now available online. This guide provides a comprehensive introduction to a span of topics that relate to grid-tied renewable energy sources. The sixth edition has been revised to include information on IREC’s recently updated model procedures, alternative billing arrangements for net metering, energy storage and several other emerging issues in the field. This guide is designed for state regulators and other policymakers, utilities, industry representatives and consumers interested in the development of state-level interconnection and net metering policies.
Despite the growing demand for cleaner energy sources, there remains a lack of clarity among policies that allow those with renewable energy generation, such as solar and wind systems, to connect to the utility grid. This fact significantly complicates renewable energy installations and has likely deterred the adoption of customer-sited distributed generation. Well-designed interconnection standards facilitate the deployment of renewables and other forms of distributed generation (DG) by specifying the technical and institutional requirements and terms by which utilities and DG system owners must abide.
The report, co-authored by Laurel Varnado, policy analyst for the North Carolina Solar Center and Michael Sheehan, P.E., with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc., is part of IREC’s Connecting to the Grid Project, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
“Since the previous edition of this guide was published in 2007, there have been widespread advancements in renewable energy policy and technical considerations,” said Laurel Varnado. “States often update their regulatory practices based on the direction that general trends and best practices seem to be heading. This guide provides a clear look at those trends as well as the necessary background information needed to interpret them.”
While no single state has adopted comprehensive best practices, many states have added provisions that have led to an evolution of what defines best practices. This publication also discusses IREC’s model interconnection procedures and net metering standards, updated in 2009 and published on the IREC website at www.irecusa.org (waiting for actual URL). IREC periodically revises its model procedures to incorporate the best practices developed at the state level.
IREC has been a pioneer in interconnection and net-metering issues since 1997 when the first edition of Connecting to the Grid was published. Back then, fewer than 20 U.S. states had implemented net metering, and the concepts of “DG” and “clean energy” were neither widely recognized nor publicly appreciated. Today, 37 states plus the District of Columbia have adopted interconnection standards while 42 states have adopted net metering standards for DG.
The sixth edition of the Connecting to the Grid Guide is available online.