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Proactive planning study for interconnection of new solar generation

Improved process for review and approval of interconnection applications.

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Jonathan Flinn Jonathan Flinn
Senior Engineer
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Proactive planning study - case study

Customer
Hawaiian Electric Company

Challenge
The continuous drop in the price of distributed solar power combined with the relatively high price of energy from conventional generation in Hawaii has driven up demand for residential solar installations. The local utility is consequently dealing with unprecedented demand for interconnection of new solar generation, which has to be managed in a controlled manner so that the quality of supply is not reduced for all customers. The existing state Rule 14H screening criteria utilize generic limits on interconnection of PV at the distribution level, and these limits drive more and more applications towards time-consuming supplemental reviews. The resulting queue places pressure on utility planning departments and can cause frustration for customers who are waiting for their application to be approved.

Approach
DNV GL worked with the Hawaiian Electric Company, with support from the California Energy Commission and U.S. Department of Energy, to develop and implement the proactive approach to high penetration studies. Through this approach, technical limitations were identified on a circuit-specific basis in an efficient manner. These limits can be used in place of the generic screening criteria, and allow for more generator interconnection applications to be approved without the need for supplemental reviews. At the same time, the level of risk on the system is quantified and controlled, as the actual status of specific feeders is established. This approach also enabled potential risks which have not yet been realized to be proactively identified and mitigated. The result is an improved framework for review and approval of interconnection applications based on relevant criteria.

Value to the Customer
Development of improved process for review and approval of interconnection applications resulting in reduced pressure on engineers and increased satisfaction for utility customers while supporting reliable grid performance.