Renewable energy and “going green” messages abound: online, on television, in weekly sales fliers from local stores and from our government. One prospect homeowners and businesses are looking into is small, on-site generation and interconnection to the electrical grid.
To serve our members, Habersham EMC is making interconnection services available. We have developed a streamlined process for the safe, efficient, and cost-effective interconnection of small renewable energy systems.
Our objectives are:
- Protect the safety of HEMC personnel and members
- Maintain the integrity and reliability of the power grid
- Ensure rate fairness for all members
Implementing such a project requires research and planning. HEMC will provide objective information about the process, costs involved and rates to interested members. We do not design generation systems nor make recommendations of specific companies that do so.
Habersham EMC is a member of Green Power EMC, which offers an educational website regarding solar generation. Once a member decides to undertake an on-site generation project, they should contact HEMC.
Our Consumer Guidelines for Electric Power Generator Installation and Interconnection (PDF) explains what we require to begin the process. This document includes contact information for the Habersham EMC representative, the application fee schedule, and a net metering rate schedule.
If you are ready to begin, please complete the Application for Operation of Customer-Owned Generation (PDF).
Overview of the Interconnectivity Application Process
The intent of the interconnection application process is for small, low-impact distributed generation projects to be reviewed quickly, the technical and equipment requirements to be only as complex and expensive as required for safe operation, and fees paid by the customer to be fair and justified. The larger the project and the more complex the interconnection scheme, the higher the costs, both for studying the interconnection scheme and for the necessary electrical equipment to interconnect.
In some cases, the cooperative may reject the proposed DG project interconnection for reliability or safety issues. In these cases, however, the cooperative will work closely with the applicant in an attempt to resolve these issues.
Normally, it is anticipated that an interconnection agreement will be signed before the applicant begins construction of the generation project. However, an applicant may choose to begin construction earlier and assumes any risk associated with possible rejection of the application. Habersham EMC approval is required before interconnection of any distributed generation project.
The application process is the series of steps to be followed by a prospective distributed generation owner/operator within the Habersham EMC service area. HEMC requires the following information:
- Technical and design parameters
- Operational and maintenance procedures
HEMC intends to keep this process simple, however; the safety and stability of the cooperative distribution system must be protected.
Once a completed application form and fee are submitted, the form will be reviewed. When conducting the interconnection study, the cooperative seeks to:
- Base study scope on the characteristics of the DG at the proposed location
- Consider the potential costs incurred and benefits as a result of DG interconnection
- Provide a cost estimate to the DG applicant prior to initiation of any studies, if any study costs are to be charged to the applicant
- Make written reports and study results available to the DG applicant
- Use the best efforts to meet the application processing schedule, or notify the DG applicant why it cannot meet the schedule and provide estimated dates for application processing and interconnection.
If the proposed DG project is 100 kW or less and the equipment meets the necessary codes, standards and certification then it will qualify for the “Fast Track” screening process. This process has three crucial concerns:
- Will the addition of the proposed project allow generation on the existing circuit to exceed 15% of the line section annual peak load?
- Will the proposed DG project, along with other generation on the circuit, contribute more than 10% to the maximum fault current?
- Will the addition of the proposed project cause any protective devices to exceed 87.5% of the short circuit interrupting capability?
If these questions are answered satisfactorily, then the applicant and HEMC will sign an interconnection agreement and the construction process may begin. If any of the questions is unsatisfactorily answered, then the application must undergo the study process.