In March 2008, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) adopted interconnection rules for renewable-energy systems up to two megawatts (MW) in capacity. The PSC rules apply only to the state's investor-owned utilities; the rules do not apply to electric cooperatives or municipal utilities.
Florida's interconnection rules include provisions for three tiers of renewable-energy systems:
Tier 1: 10 kilowatts (kW) or less
Tier 2: Larger than 10 kW, but not larger than 100 kW
Tier 3: Larger than 100 kW, but not larger than 2 MW
To qualify for expedited interconnection under the PSC rules, the customer-owned renewable generation must have a gross power rating that does not exceed 90% of the customer’s utility distribution service rating. Tier 1 applicants are not subject to application fees, interconnection studies or liability insurance. Utilities may require that applicants have proof of general liability insurance of $1 million for Tier 2 and $2 million for Tier 3 customers.
An external disconnect switch is not required for inverter-based Tier 1 systems, but a utility may choose to install a disconnect switch for a Tier 1 system at the utility's expense. Utilities are authorized to require customers with Tier 2 and Tier 3 systems to install a disconnect switch at the customer's expense. The PSC rules also require mutual indemnification.
Utilities must offer customers a standard interconnection agreement for the expedited interconnection of renewable generation systems. All systems must meet all applicable safety and performance standards established by the National Electric Code (NEC), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), including the IEEE 1547, IEEE 1547.1 and UL 1741 standards. In addition, systems must be inspected and approved by local code officials prior to interconnection to ensure compliance with applicable local codes.
In June 2008, Florida enacted legislation (H.B. 7135) confirming that the PSC had the authority to adopt the March 2008 rules related to interconnection and net metering for investor-owned utilities.* In addition, H.B. 7135 required municipal utilities and electric cooperatives to "develop a standardized interconnection agreement and net metering program for customer-owned renewable generation" by July 1, 2009. However, the law does not provide specific guidance for municipal utilities and electric cooperatives. Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are required to file an annual report with the PSC detailing customer participation, although the PSC does not have direct authority over these utilities.
*While the PSC regulates investor-owned utilities, individual utilities have different forms for net metering and interconnection applications. Customers should visit their utility web site for more information and for appropriate net metering and interconnection application forms.