Energy and Climate
Energy and ClimateUpdating_Interconnection_PV_Systems_IntegrationUpdating_Interconnection_PV_Systems_Integration



Michael Coddington, Barry Mather, Benjamin Kroposki
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Kevin Lynn, Alvin Razon
U.S. Department of Energy
Abraham Ellis, Roger Hill
Sandia National Laboratories
Tom Key, Kristen Nicole, Jeff Smith
Electric Power Research Institute

Technical Report
January 2012

Overview and Purpose
Solar photovoltaics (PV) is the dominant type of distributed generation (DG) technology interconnected to electric distribution systems in the United States and deployment of PV systems continues to increase rapidly. In states such as California, Hawaii, and New Jersey alone, the number of new PV interconnection applications is in the thousands each year. Considering the rapid growth and widespread deployment of PV systems embedded in United States electric distribution grids, it is important that interconnection procedures be as streamlined as possible to avoid unnecessary interconnection studies, costs, and delays.
Since many PV interconnection applications involve high penetration scenarios, the process needs to allow for a sufficiently rigorous technical evaluation to identify and address possible system impacts. Existing interconnection procedures are designed to balance the need for efficiency and technical rigor for all DG. However, there is an implicit expectation that those procedures will be updated over time in order to remain relevant with respect to evolving standards, technology, and practical experience. Modifications to interconnection screens and procedures must focus on maintaining or improving safety and reliability, as well as accurately allocating costs and improving expediency of the interconnection process.
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the origins and usefulness of the capacity penetration screen, offer short-term solutions which could effectively allow fast-track interconnection to many PV system applications, and consider longer-term solutions for increasing PV deployment levels in a safe and reliable manner while reducing or eliminating the emphasis on the penetration screen. Short-term and longer-term alternatives approaches are offered as examples; however, specific modifications to screening procedures should be discussed with stakeholders and must ultimately be adopted by state and federal regulatory bodies.


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