*We have updated our Distributed Energy Resource (DER) policies, forms, and procedures as of January 1, 2023.
Distributed energy resource (DER) refers to generation units that are located on the consumer’s side of the meter. Those member’s that are considering a cogeneration system such as solar panels, wind turbines, or other generators, please review all the cooperative’s DER documentation listed below before purchasing any equipment. NPEC needs to review and approve the equipment that our members are contemplating to install BEFORE they purchase anything.
- Review the cooperative’s Distributed Energy Resource Policy. Click here.
- Review the cooperative’s Interconnection Process. Click here.
- Review the cooperative’s Interconnection Agreement. Click here.
- Complete the cooperative’s application for Interconnection of Generation Systems form and submit it along with the fee.
Upon approval of your interconnection application, we will complete an interconnection agreement outlining the terms and conditions and to ensure you agree to operate your DER safely, maintain the unit properly and maintain insurance as needed.
If you have any questions at any time during this review process, give our engineering department a call at 1-800-882-2500 or email at DER@nplains.com
- Do you plan to interconnect the DER system to NPEC facilities?
If so, please consult with the cooperative first to ensure it can be interconnected safely. Most DER systems are grid-connected. Because of the two-way flow of electricity, excess energy that your DER system creates flows into your cooperative’s lines. This holds you with the responsibility for the safety of your cooperative line workers, others who may come in contact with a downed power line, and your cooperative’s equipment. Improper connection and maintenance of your system may endanger people and the reliability of the grid. NPEC will make sure your system can be safely interconnected with ours while meeting all federal, state and local codes.
- Can I install a DER without notifying the Cooperative?
No. You must notify your Cooperative and have a signed agreement to interconnect to the cooperative’s system.
If you are found operating a DER system that has not been approved by the cooperative, your electrical service may be disconnected due to safety concerns.
- Can systems be installed at a location with submeters?
No, we do not allow DER systems to be connected if there are submeters at the location. When submeters are present, it is impossible to accurately measure your electricity use. The submeter issue is critical because it can result in a substantial expense to you. Having a submeter for electric heat allows you to cut your electric heating rate from 10 cents a kilowatt-hour (kWh) to as low as 4.93 cents.
If you were to install your own power generation system, we would either have to remove the submeter, resulting in a much higher rate for heating, or you would be required to install a separate electric utility service for your electric heat, which could be a significant expense. These additional expenses can cut into the benefit you get with your DER project.
- What size DER system should I consider?
Your system should be sized by the DER contractor, guided by your energy consumption history. We recommend that you size the DER system to not exceed your energy consumption.
- What questions should I ask installers?
Beware of 'bad actor' installers!
- Is the company licensed and insured? What is the license number? How long has the company been in business?
- Are your installers your employees? Do you use subcontractors for any part of the installation?
- Who designs the solar system and what tools are used to estimate annual output?
- Do you have your own electricians in-house?
- Do you know the interconnection process for my utility?
- How long will the installation take?
- Do I have the right to cancel an installation contract?
- Does NPEC buyback power?
Yes, we do, however we want consumers to be aware of the rates we pay to buy power from members. If your system is less than 150,000 watts (150 KW), then our buyback rate is less than 2.4 cents per kWh in accordance with the federal Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). The PURPA purchase rate was 1.6605 cents per kWh at the time of this publication for loads within the regional transmission operator authority of Southwest Power Pool.
We do not buy back power from you at the same rate we sell it because our rate includes more than just the cost to produce power. We need to set rates that allow us to also pay for our infrastructure, debt service, employees, maintenance, outage response and more.
- Are there any tax incentives available?
Any financial incentives available will help reduce your investment costs. Opportunities vary by state and locale, and many have expiration dates. One database offering detail is www.dsireusa.org This site includes a clickable, interactive map, showing federal and state incentives credits, exemptions, grants, loans and rebates for residential and commercial/industrial projects. Another database offering information is https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits.
- How much will by solar system generate?
An official government website, https://pvwatts.nrel.gov provides an online calculator called the PVWatts Calculator which estimates the energy production of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, small building owners, installers and manufactures to easily develop estimates of the performance of potential PV installations.