Experiencing Holiday Traffic or Airport Security Lines? That’s How Interconnection Queues Feel for Solar

The second in a series of IREC articles on interconnection originally published on 11/23/16 in GreenTechMedia

long-lines_reutersWe all have to wait in lines, from the bank to the grocery store to the airport.

And we’ve all experienced frustration when people ahead of us aren’t paying attention. They don’t have their payment ready to cash out, or they can’t find their ID and boarding pass for the security check point. So they slow things down for everyone else. But as some of these processes become more automated and streamlined, it’s beginning to save us time and energy.

We can now deposit checks from our phone, or order food online for delivery to our doorstep. Nonetheless, lines remain a reality in modern life, and sometimes the best we can hope for is just knowing how long it’s going to take.

In many ways, the interconnection queue is like any other line. It allows utilities to process interconnection applications in a fair and orderly manner — first-come, first-served. And it is also susceptible to delays at many “check points” throughout the process, which can slow things down in unpredictable ways for every project. Sometimes the effects are minor and inconsequential. However, some delays, such as late interconnection study results or construction bottlenecks, can translate to big costs for project applicants and impact their ability to obtain financing.

In our regulatory work in states across the country, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) often sees timelines and “queue management” issues come up in times of crisis, when a utility’s interconnection queue has become backlogged, and applicants and customers complain.

Read the entire article on GreenTech Media.

By Erica McConnell, attorney with Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, who represents IREC in regulatory matters.

Image: Reuters

 

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