Delays are common during the process to interconnect solar installations to the grid, according to the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which has analyzed data from more than 30,000 solar PV installations.
According to the new NREL report, “Understanding Processes and Timelines for Distributed Photovoltaic Interconnection in the United States,” which examined PV project data across 87 utility territories and 16 states, for residential and small commercial systems (less than 50 kilowatts), it took an average of 63 total business days (median 53) from the date a PV installer submits an interconnection application to when the utility grants permission to operate.
However, there is wide variation around these values, ranging from less than one week to more than six months. System construction represents the fastest part of the process, taking an average of four business days (median two days). Interconnection application review and approval accounted for the most time of any single process examined in this analysis, requiring an average of 27 business days (median of 18 days) to complete.