In recent years, growth in the number of requests to interconnect solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to the utility grid has raised new issues and challenges for PV installers, utilities, and ultimately the PV customers who absorb the costs of interconnection challenges. The increased volume of interconnection requests and the evolving market for distributed energy resources (DERs) have led several states to revise interconnection requirements and have caused utilities, particularly in states with the most active solar markets, to streamline and automate interconnection processes. In regions with less active markets, the volume of interconnection requests may not pose challenges, but other types of barriers may exist to the interconnection of distributed PV systems.
The objective of this report is to evaluate the nature of barriers to interconnecting distributed PV, assess costs of interconnection, and compare interconnection practices across various states in the Western Interconnection.
This study is part of a cooperative agreement between the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) and the Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. Through the cooperative agreement, WIEB is conducting joint projects with National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to examine barriers to distributed PV deployment in the 11 states wholly within the Western Interconnection. WIEB will then conduct outreach to western states to share research findings.