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PSC Approves New Rules to Increase Solar Power Installations

From left, Allan Beers, Rockland County coordinator of environmental resources; Harriet Cornell, Rockland Task Force on Water Resources Management; Audrey Zibelman, PSC chair; Alden Wolfe, Rockland County Legislature; state Rep. Kenneth Zebrowski
From left, Allan Beers, Rockland County coordinator of environmental resources; Harriet Cornell, Rockland Task Force on Water Resources Management; Audrey Zibelman, PSC chair; Alden Wolfe, Rockland County Legislature; state Rep. Kenneth Zebrowski Photo Credit: Rockland County Government Facebook

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- The state Public Service Commission has announced new regulations making it faster and easier for solar energy, microgrids and other distributed generation projects to connect to the electric grid.

The action aims to advance the development of renewable power under the state’s new Clean Energy Standard.

“Today’s action is another step in New York’s long-term commitment to bringing clean, low-cost power to every corner of New York state,” said commission Chair Audrey Zibelman. “These new regulations will make it easier for distributed generation developers to work with utilities to find the best places to connect innovative solar power projects that will protect the environment, lower energy costs and improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid.”

The commission’s order increases the size of distributed generation projects that may apply under the state’s “standardized interconnection” process. In addition, under the previous regulations, interconnection developers had to pay the entire cost of interconnections up-front. That up-front cost will now be cut to 25 percent, although construction will not begin until full payment is received, according to the new Standardized Interconnection Requirements.

The commission also amended its rules to enable utilities to more easily process and analyze the large numbers of applications currently filed by solar and other DG power developers. The commission took the comments and suggestions from industry developers, utility managers and environmental groups. For example, the commission will now require the filing of a pre-application report that helps utilities determine whether a proposed interconnection project is viable and located in the right geographical area.

“The overall goal for these SIR modifications is to enhance and speed up the interconnection application and review process, as well as the overall interconnection process. Given the significant increase in interconnection applications, improvements in the overall process are needed and further modifications may be needed as additional lessons are learned and technology evolves.” John B. Rhodes, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said.

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