In 2006, West Virginia stakeholders came together to consider net metering, interconnection as required by the Federal Energy Policy Act (2005) and agreed upon a "Statement of Consensus Among Parties," which was presented to and accepted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) in December 2006. The consensus agreement did include interconnection guidelines for the state, however, the PSC did not initiate a formal rule-making or incorporate the guidelines into agency rules. Rather, the interconnection guidelines were incorporated into utility net metering tariffs (which are proposed by the utilities). In 2010, the PSC opened a docket to reconsider net metering and interconnection per H.B. 103 (2009). The Order, General Order No. 258
, adopted new interconnection standards (Rules Governing Electric Utility Net Metering Arrangements and Interconnections), based almost entirely on the existing interconnection guidelines of the consensus agreement. However, several important improvements were incorporated, including tiered insurance requirements and removing the requirement for external disconnect switches in the case of smaller, inverter-based systems.
West Virginia's interconnection standards include two levels of review. The qualifications and application fees for each level are as follows:
- Level 1 applies to certified, inverter-based systems with a rated capacity of 25 kilowatts (kW) or less. The maximum application fee for Level 1 applicants is $30.
- Level 2 applies to certified systems with a capacity of 2 MW or less that do not meet the criteria for inclusion in Level 1. The maximum application fee is $50 plus $1 per kW of capacity.
General Order 258.1 was issued in September 2011 to correct an omission related to the Level 2 Interconnection Agreement. In May 2011, the Commission corrected the omission by incorporating provisions relating to assignment, liability, indemnity, Force Majeure, consequential damages, and default into the standard Level 2 Interconnection Agreement. These rules are effective July 18, 2011.
The rules use IEEE 1547 as the technical standard of evaluation. The rules specify the technical screens which may be applied to applications at each level of review as well as time limits for different stages of the evaluation process. Application forms and interconnection agreements are standardized.
Customer-generators must maintain $100,000 general liability for systems with nameplate capacity of 50 kW or less, $500,000 for systems with nameplate capacity of greater than 50 kW to 500 kW, and $1 million for systems with name plate capacity greater than 500 kW. Utilities may not require customers to install an external disconnect switch for inverter-based, certified systems 25 kW or less.