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Interconnection of Distributed Generation Facilities

Update July 30, 2020: 

When the Arizona utility regulators met to decide these issues they deadlocked over whether they should increase the state's requirements for renewable energy. It proved not possible to obtain the agreement of at least three commissioners, the meeting was adjourned.

See the Arizona Republic article on this:  Arizona utility regulators hit roadblock on clean-energy rules, abruptly end meeting.

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has released the Notice of Final Rulemaking Interconnection of Distributed Generation FacilitiesInterconnection of Distributed Generation Facilities document.

With this rulemaking, the Commission adds a new Article 26, entitled " Interconnection. of Distributed Generation Facilities" to 14 A.A.C. 2, the Chapter containing the Commission's rules for fixed utilities, with the new Article 26 including 28 new rules. The rules for Interconnection of Distributed Generation Facilities ("DGI Rules") establish mandatory technical standards, processes, and timelines for utilities to use for· interconnection and parallel operation of different types of distributed generation ("DG") facilities; customer and utility rights and responsibilities; provisions for disconnection of DG facilities from the distribution system; specific safety requirements; more flexible standards for electric cooperatives; a reporting requirement; and a requirement for each utility to create, submit for initial approval and submit for approval periodically and when revised, and implement and comply with a Commission-approved Interconnection Manual.

The first dozen pages are basically legal stuff.  The document defines how an utility must review, then accept/reject/etc. an application to connect distributed generation to the utility.  It defines both customer rights and utility procedures.  There are a lot of utility, installer and customer comments along with the ACC staff recomendations. 

Hanwha plans to Build a large Solar Plant in LaPaz County, Arizona

Hanwha 800MW location

174 Power Global, Corp., a California-based subsidiary of South Korean company Hanwha, plans to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission a utility-scale photovoltaic solar facility (800 megawatts) on 4,654 acres of BLM-administered public land in southeastern La Paz County.  While the proposed site is likely within view of I-10 about midway between the Phoenix metro area and the California border, it is not near any sizable community.  The BLM held a public meeting in Quartzsite, West of the map image above, on February 19th.

The site, just south of Interstate 10, is close to a recently approved but still-to-be-constructed substation and a new 'Ten West Link' transmission line. The proposed project is still in the early stages. It must be approved by the BLM, then go through an environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act process, before it can be fully approved and construction can begin.  The location is ideal for selling the energy into both the Arizona and California markets.

Hanwha Q Cells recently opened the largest solar factory in the Western Hemisphere. The 300,000 square foot factory in Dalton, Georgia has the capacity to produce 12,000 PV modules per day, or 1.7 GW annually – the same peak generating capacity as the Hoover Dam. This project will use about half the annual production of the new plant.

Desert solar farms can improve tortoise habitat

With openings in the fence and improved growth of plants vital for tortoise survival, solar farms in Nevada can provide better habitat than the surrounding desert. First Solar has found similar habitat gains in California.

PV Magazine has a good article on a further environmental benefit of solar farms.