Last Updated October 10, 2014
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
New Jersey's interconnection standards apply statewide to all electric distribution utilities, but not to the small number of municipal utilities and electric cooperatives in the state. The rules, first adopted in 2001, have been revised several times since their inception, most recently in May 2012. The current standards include the following basic provisions:
- Systems powered by Class I renewable energy resources are eligible. This includes solar, wind, fuel cells powered by renewable fuels, geothermal technologies, wave or tidal action, landfill gas, anaerobic digester gas, and sustainable biomass.
- There are three different levels of review procedures for applications, depending on size and certification. Level 1 applies to inverter-based systems with a capacity rating of 10 kilowatts (kW) or less. Level 2 applies to systems with a maximum capacity of 2 MW that are certified by a nationally-recognized testing and certification laboratory as meeting IEEE 1547 and UL 1741 compliance standards. Level 3 applies to systems that do not qualify for either the Level 1 or Level 2 interconnection review procedures.
- Fees vary by level. There is no fee for Level 1 interconnection. Level 2 interconnection may include a fee of $50 plus $1 per kW of capacity, as well as the costs of minor system modifications and additional review (subject to BPU approval). Level 3 may include a fee of $100 plus $2 per kW of capacity, as well as charges for actual time spent on any impact and/or facilities studies required by the standard. Charges for additional review under Level 2 or impact or facilities studies under Level 3 may not exceed $100 per hour.
- Utilities may not require Level 1 and Level 2 customer-generators to install additional controls or external disconnect switches not included in the equipment package, to perform or pay for additional tests, or to purchase additional liability insurance.
- Interconnection to networks is permitted.
- Utilities must file interconnections reports with the BPU twice annually. Reports must list, by Class I technology type, the total number of interconnected customers, the total generating capacity of interconnected customers, and the total number of customers interconnected since June 15, 2001.
Interconnection contacts for the state's electric distribution utilities -- Atlantic City Electric, Rockland Electric, PSE&G, and Jersey Central Power and Light -- are available on the program web site listed at the top of this page. The program web site also contains an on-line form for making complaints to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in the event that a dispute cannot be resolved directly with the utility. Separate standardized interconnection agreements are used for systems of 10 kW or less and systems larger than 10 kW. These agreements are available on the interconnection web sites of the individual utilities.
Legislation enacted by New Jersey in February 1999 required electric distribution companies to offer net metering to residential and small commercial customers with photovoltaic and wind-energy systems. To implement net metering the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) adopted interim standards in 2001. In September 2004, the BPU adopted final rules that substantially increased the types and size of systems eligible for interconnection. The final rules clarified and simplified interconnection for most residential and small commercial facilities.
In January 2008, S.B. 2936 made substantial amendments to the net metering law (and interconnection law by extension), most notably extending net metering to large commercial and industrial customers and expanding the list of eligible technologies to include all "Class I" renewable energy resources. The interconnection rule revisions adopted in January 2010 implicitly incorporated these changes by using the definition of "customer-generator" contained in the net metering rules. Other major changes made by the January 2010 adoption include: (1) separating the interconnection rules from the net metering rules and relocating them to a separate section of the administrative code, (2) removing prior language that appeared to limit the standards to systems of 2 MW or less; and (3) adding new interconnection reporting requirements for utilities. The May 2012 adoption made a variety of clarifying changes focused primarily on procedural matters such as timelines, deadlines, and notification requirements.