National Grid picks Nexamp for pilot program to speed solar interconnection
Nexamp has been selected to participate in the innovative and recently launched National Grid DG customer “Self-Performance Pilot” program in Massachusetts. This initiative marks important progress toward the companies’ shared goal of reducing costs and shortening the timeline from construction to interconnection for distributed generation (DG) solar projects. Nexamp owns one of the first two projects selected to participate.
The program was created in response to requests from developers looking to perform certain system modifications to potentially reduce the overall interconnection timeline and/or cost of their DG projects. National Grid is allowing developers in the pilot to design, procure, and construct certain required modifications in compliance with all National Grid standards.
This is the first program of its kind, representing a forward-thinking approach by National Grid, and should set the stage for a new, more efficient method of tying renewable energy resources into the grid. The program scope is limited to overhead or underground distribution line system modifications 15kV class, or below, that can be performed without working on or near energized National Grid infrastructure.
“Getting projects interconnected quickly and efficiently is one the biggest hurdles to increasing the volume of local solar energy on the electric grid.” said Zaid Ashai, CEO, Nexamp. “This pilot program is an innovative model that could transform project design and construction and reduce critical timelines by weeks or months. Working together with utilities, we can improve the pace of deployment and overcome some of the biggest industry bottlenecks, accelerating the deployment of urgently needed clean, renewable energy to power our lives and fight climate change.”
The combined projects Nexamp is building within this program are located in New Braintree, Mass., and represent a total of approximately 4 MWdc of solar generation, enough to offset the energy needs of approximately 600 average homes.
Costs associated with infrastructure upgrades and interconnection for local renewable projects are paid by the DG project developers and owners today, making it logical for these companies to perform some of the design engineering and construction work required.
“As more DG resources contribute to the energy mix of the grid, streamlining the construction and interconnection process is critical,” said Michael Porcaro, Director Distributed Generation Ombudsperson at National Grid. “There are potential long-term benefits from this pilot program. We look forward to working closely with participants in the pilot and developing an approach we potentially could roll out more broadly. This is a win-win for consumers and the energy industry.”
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