Distributed Generation FAQ's
- Review the new Distributed Generation Interconnection policy and forms that can be found on our website, www.yvea.com
- Fill out the Interconnection Application and return to YVEA Engineering to begin the process
- Provide information about the location, components of the system, system one-line, and any other relevant documents as specified in the application
- Submit documents to YVEA separately from county approval process and preferably before you begin county process
- Begin construction once YVEA Engineering approval is granted, as well as county approval if necessary
- After construction is complete, submit Interconnection Agreement and contact YVEA Engineering for system inspection/test/meter exchange
- Net metering begins once the test is completed and meter exchanged
As defined in the interconnection agreement:
The member’s eligible Qualifying Facility Energy System (system) is a self-contained electric generation system that must comprise: a generating device, direct current disconnect apparatus (if applicable), inverter for the conversion of direct current to alternating current (if applicable), alternating current disconnect with lockout (exterior mounted in close proximity (within 10 feet or at YVEA discretion) to YVEA revenue meter, over-current protective device, and all other related electrical equipment upstream of the over-current protective device. YVEA will supply the recording kWh meter, and is the property of YVEA.
The system size limits are set by the type of service the member now has or would qualify for with new construction:
- A small service is allowed a system that is capable of producing up to 120% of the member's annual usage or 25 kW, whichever is less
- A medium or large service is allowed a system that is capable of producing up to 120% of the member's annual usage or 150 kW, whichever is less
Facilities larger than those that are specified above would fall outside of our Level 1 or Level 2 fast tracking process and will require an interconnection study to be completed in order to interconnect with the YVEA system. There are other conditions that may preclude an installation from fast track processing and these conditions are specified in the YVEA interconnection policy.
Net-metering is the process whereby energy usage and generation is resolved. This is an automated process through YVEA's revenue meters. For any generation above a given month's usage, the Producer will retain a credit and this credit will be applied to their next months bill. At the end of the calendar year, the Producer will be paid at the current rate for any generation above their usage of the previous year.
Rate 50 is $0.033 per generated kWh above that which was used during a calendar year. The Member will retain ownership of the renewable energy certificates (RECs). Currently, Rate 50 is the only rate available for new DG systems requesting interconnection. Previous rates specified in established interconnection agreements will continue to be honored.
In order to keep from raising rates to fund such programs, YVEA's board has elected not to offer rebates or incentives for member-owned DG systems.
RECs, as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, “[are] market-based instrument[s] that represent the property rights of the environmental, social and other non-power attributes of electrical generation. RECs are issued when one mega-watt hour (MWh) of electricity is generated and delivered to the electrical grid from an eligible renewable energy source.” (epa.gov) In the United States, RECs can be traded as a commodity.
The energy that your system generates is subtracted from the energy that you use and you are billed for the Net kWh. If you produce more energy than you use during a billing period, you will not be billed an energy charge and the excess will be stored in your virtual "bank" for future use. Your banked energy is printed on the monthly bill. If you use more energy than you generate, the difference will be deducted from your banked usage (if available), otherwise, you will be charged the difference.
Some examples of renewable energy fuels would be sunlight, water, wind, biofuels (fallen bark beetle trees, used cooking oil, etc.), and fossil fuel by-products of certain industrial processes (such as natural gas flaring at a gas compression station). See epa.gov for a complete listing in their Renewable Fuel Standard Program.
Under an outage condition, a DG system that is still producing and is still connected to the grid can create an electric “island”, supplying power to a single or multiple services within proximity of the facility. This can be a significant safety hazard to line crews troubleshooting outages and restoring power. YVEA requires that a Qualifying Facility have anti-islanding capability and a lockable AC disconnect, in order to maintain complete control of the grid during such events. In the case of an inverter, this capability is part of the control software for the device. The data sheet should specify whether the device has such capability.
While not a complete list that covers all circumstances, here are the main codes and standards: National Electric Code (especially Articles 690 and 705), Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 1741; IEEE standards 1547 and some parts of 519. Be aware that while a particular device may have a UL 1741 listing, it does not mean that this approval for one application can be applied to another application. For example, an inverter may be UL listed for a single-phase application, but not necessarily for a three-phase application. Check the specifics of the UL testing before using the device for an application for which it was not designed. It is the member’s responsibility that they or anyone acting on their behalf is aware of and in compliance with all applicable codes and standards.
Once the DG facility installation is complete, the member or an agent acting on the member’s behalf will contact YVEA Engineering and let us know that the system is ready for inspection. A member-signed (electronic or manual signature) Interconnection Agreement will be sent to YVEA for signature. The YVEA Approving Authority will coordinate a time and date to test the system to verify anti-islanding capability, the AC disconnect location and operation, the power production of the system, and any voltage rise on the system. As well, there will be a meter exchange with the installation of a net meter, measuring power production as well as consumption. A copy of the completed Interconnection Agreement will be provided to the member or the member’s agent.
Voltage rise is the condition whereby an inverter-based system will raise the voltage at the inverter in order to compensate for voltage drop due to loading of the conductors. Often this compensation has the consequence of raising voltage at the point of interconnection. YVEA requires voltage rise calculations for all systems with an inverter located greater than 50 feet from the revenue meter. Voltage rise can be compensated with power factor correction, which is a feature of UL1741 SA tested inverters. According to IEEE 1547, this voltage rise may also be used to maintain voltage levels on the primary distribution system.
- Level 1 Processing is for certified inverter-based systems that do not exceed 25kW. Even when the proposed facility meets this criteria, there are other aspects of the system that may preclude it from Level 1 processing. Please see Section II of YVEA's Interconnection Policy for a description of such criteria. This is a fast-track process.
- Level 2 (Fast-Track) Processing is for certified noninverter-based systems that do not exceed 25kW or that cannot be precluded from Level 2 processing due to the factors specified in Section III of YVEA's Interconnection Policy.
- Level 3 Processing is for systems that do not meet the criteria specified for Level 1 or 2. A system study is required for all facilities processed under Level 3, with the cost born by the Producer. See Section IV of YVEA's Interconnection Policy for more information about Level 3 Processing.
The fee of $250 will be assessed for Level 1 and 2 to cover Engineering Analysis and Test of the system. The system study called for in Level 3 Processing is $25,000. There may be additional fees for this level of processing depending on the complexity of the system and the time required for Engineering Analysis and Test.