New York updates standards for grid-solar integration

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The New York State Public Service Commission updated standards for the interconnection of solar systems with grid networks.

The updated requirements apply to projects for solar energy systems above 50KW/h.

The decision to update the state’s grid-solar integration requirements falls under efforts by the energy regulator to “clear out a backlog of inactive project proposals and allow well-developed projects to be completed.”

Commenting on the development, Audrey Zibelman, chair of the Commission, said: “These new requirements will help determine whether a proposed solar project is viable and should move forward to construction, providing clean renewable power for customers.”

Solar energy systems and grid stability

The new standards are designed to simplify integration of solar plants with grid networks for New York state to increase its renewable energy portfolio to ensure the reliability of grid networks and at the same reduce carbon emissions in line with the REV programme.

The REV programme aims to ensure that 50% of the state’s total energy is generated from renewable energy resources including solar and wind by 2030.

“Every proposal requires a lengthy, in-depth analysis to determine whether it is feasible and, too often, unrealistic projects have been getting in the way of workable proposals,” added Zibelman.

Since December 2016, the Commission received over 2,000 proposals for the construction of solar plants of sizes between 2KW/h and 50KW/h.

The majority of the projects have up to date not been completed due to factors including inadequate funding and lack of land for construction of the plants.

The new rules include fixed decision deadlines whereby developers of solar energy systems are not allowed to extend project deadlines.

Solar energy funding

Parties involved in the projects will be forced to surrender their agreements regarding funding of the project. The new rules require developers to pay 25% of the total costs of the project before its implementation.

“This change should eliminate conflicts where two or more developers have filed applications seeking to interconnect projects on the same site,” reiterated Zibelman.

The new standards require developers to provide the Commission with land use agreement forms signed by owners of lands on which projects will be executed on. [New York governor announces $10m in clean energy funding]

“With today’s action, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., New York State Electric and Gas Corporation, National Grid, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation must file tariff amendments and updated interconnection requirements to comply with the new interconnection policy,” highlights a release issued by the Commission.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.