December 2012 Connecting to the Grid Newsletter



Note from the Editor

Island in the Storm: Solar power shines when the grid goes down

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and future superstorms that threaten to hit with increasing frequency, I want to devote some time to emergency power back up and how solar fits into that picture. Historically, large-scale emergency backup power systems have been fueled by diesel generators and designed for critical loads such as hospitals and water treatment plants.  More recently, we are seeing those critical loads, as well as schools and other large campuses, being served by microgrids that are powered by a range of fuel combinations, including solar energy and combined heat and power.

But what options are there for smaller-scale facilities, like a residence or small business? It seems counterintuitive that a residential solar system would have to be shut down in the event of a power outage. However, almost all grid-connected systems shut down in the event of a grid failure because interconnection procedures require distributed generation systems to follow IEEE 1547 rules to prevent unintentional islands. The idea is that we don’t want a generator “island” putting electricity onto an otherwise de-energized grid, putting utility line workers at risk.  The easy solution is to shut down the generators when the grid goes down.

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State News in Detail

Northeast States        

Rhode Island Department proposes new rates for distributed generation program

Mid-Atlantic States    

Virginia SCC approves utility-owned distributed generation program

Midwestern States    

Michigan PSC approves Phase 2 plan for customer-owned solar program

Ohio PUC seeks comments in net metering case

Southern States         

Georgia PSC approves largest voluntarily developed IOU solar portfolio in the nation

Louisiana PSC staff issues report and recommendation to eliminate retail credit for net metering, add meter aggregation capability

Missouri town seeks to adopt net metering policy

Western States          

California utility abandons plan to increase insurance requirement for net metering and interconnection customers

Other States               

Hawaii utility seeks to add dispatchable geothermal power; State tax department weakens solar tax credit

Upcoming Events


Miscellaneous News

NREL Teams with Berkeley Lab to Analyze Solar Pricing Trends and Benchmark “Soft” Costs for PV Systems



Download the full newsletter as a PDF:  December 2012 Connecting to the Grid Newsletter



While customer-sited net metering and interconnection policies are primarily addressed at the state level, they are also becoming important on a regional basis. This newsletter has been designed to provide state-level policy updates and capture emerging regional trends. Connecting to the Grid is a free, electronic newsletter published each month by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC). Click here to subscribe.

Editor: Laurel Varnado


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