If you are an environmentally-minded consumer-member, taking advantage of Egyptian Electric Cooperative’s Interconnection Program just might be what you have been waiting for to participate in renewable energy. Concern for the environment and increased cost of energy has led some members to consider installing generation equipment to replace all or some of the electricity provided by their energy supplier. Egyptian Electric Cooperative (EECA) encourages member generation of electricity (sometimes called distributed generation) when it can be done in a safe, economical and environmentally friendly manner.
We voluntarily contributes to the Illinois Renewable Energy Resources and Coal Technology Development Assistance program, which makes EECA consumer-members eligible for rebate funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for residential solar and wind energy systems, when available. Like many utilities in Illinois, EECA had a 1% cap (based on our previous year’s peak demand) for our net metering program. The cap was met in January of 2021, so our full retail net metering program is now full. We have over 230 members participating in this program!
All new interconnections, installed after April 2021, will receive 1 for 1 credit on the excess electricity that they generate (energy line on billing statement). EECA will charge the applicable rate for all energy delivered (delivery line on billing statement).
If you have any questions about renewable energy, net metering, or qualifying facilities, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view more about our bill design, visit here.
You may ask, what is net metering or net billing? Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows solar panel owners (EECA consumer-members) to receive credit for any excess electricity their panels generate and send back to the grid (through EECA). Interconnected meters are required for net metering arrangements, as they allow for two-way (bidirectional) communication between the solar panel owner’s system and the electric grid. These meters measure both the electricity the solar panel owner uses from the grid and the electricity they generate and send back to the grid. In a net metering arrangement, the net meter tracks both the electricity they use from the grid and the excess electricity they generate and send back to the grid. This excess electricity is then credited to the member’s account (banked kilowatt-hours, or kWhs), at the same retail rate that you would pay for electricity from EECA.
Considering solar or wind for an interconnection with EECA? Below is a summary of our policy, application, agreement and rate schedule:
How to Read Your Bill and Understand Your Net Meter
The bidirectional meter, also called the net meter, is or will be your main meter. It will not only be reading the usage in your home, but reads at any given moment, the difference in DELIVERED (or SUPPLIED) vs. GENERATED (or SURPLUS). For instance, if you only have a 100-Watt (100W) light bulb on in your home, and your interconnected system is producing 30W at that moment, the meter will reflect 100W-30W=70W (net) usage at that instant. If nothing is on in your home, it would pass the 30W production through to the meter at that moment. It does not show you what you used, and what you produced on the meter, but will be reflected on your monthly bill. The sub-meter is for us to be able to monitor the production of the system and is not incorporated to your bill. It strictly reads what the system is moving from the inverter to your panel.
According to Policy 515, you will accumulate “BANKED” kilowatt-hours (kWhs) throughout the year, and will accumulate as your “GENERATED,” surplus or produced, is more than your “DELIVERED,” supplied or utilized kWhs. When your “GENERATED” (or SURPLUS) kWhs in one month are more than your “DELIVERED” (or SUPPLIED) kWhs you will show a negative “NET,” and they will become “BANKED” kWhs (added to your “Banked Balance”). On months where your “DELIVERED” usage is more than your “GENERATED” any banked kWhs will be credited at that time. If your “banked” kWhs are unused by your reset month (according to your signed agreement), they will be lost.
To view the ICC overview page of installers, click on certified distributed generation installers in Illinois, if you are interested in pursuing distributed generation.
Initial Requirements for Safety
The interconnection of distributed generation with the electric grid continues to pose safety and reliability risks, both for Egyptian Electric Cooperative (EECA) employees and the general public. These distributed generation policies are not a complete description or listing of all laws, ordinances, rules or regulations, nor or they intended to be an installation or safety manual. The member, or contractor on behalf of the member, requesting to interconnect a distributed generation facility to the Cooperative’s electric system, is responsible for and must follow:
- All provisions of the policies and agreements,
- The Cooperative’s rules and regulations for electric service,
- The Cooperative’s line extension policy,
- The policies and procedures of the Cooperative’s power supplier when applicable,
- The current IEEE 1547 Standard Guide for Distributed Generation Interconnection,
- All applicable IEEE standards, ANSI standards, National Electric Code and/or National Electric Safety Code standards.
First Steps for Installation
Before beginning the installation of a distributed generation system, during the planning stages, the member and/or the member’s installer, should contact our Engineering Department, as a prerequisite.
Preliminary work to be completed, BEFORE construction starts and things to know:
• Review the two EECA policies, Policy 509 – Interconnection Policy and Policy 515 – Cooperative Credit for Excess Generation Policy and keep for your records. Note, Policy 515 allows members to generate alternative energy on an annual basis to offset their purchases of energy from the Cooperative, up to a 40 kW system. It does not provide for reimbursement for energy produced above consumption. Any credits for excess generation at the end of the annual period chosen will expire.
• Complete, or have you contractor complete on your behalf, to the best of your knowledge the Application for Operation of Member-Owned Generation and return the original and signed copy for interconnects with name plated capacity less than 40 kW. If 40 kW and over, please contact us first and we will assist you in the agreement necessary with the Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC). If contractor is installing separate systems, an application for each system needs to be completed regardless of size.
• Submit Equipment Specifications, for EECA reference.
• Complete and return the original Agreement for Interconnection (and Parallel Operation of Distributed Generation). It is important to choose an Annual Period of April or October. April is considered optimal for solar interconnections, and October for wind turbine interconnects. Sign Member Name (Owner & date).
• Submit the proposed One-line diagram from your contractor, to include the existing metering point for your interconnect system. The drawing should include the metering point(s), disconnect(s), panel box(es), inverter(s), and denote any battery back-ups. The Engineer Technicians may check out the site/existing service set-up before construction starts.
• Submit a Certificate of Completion to EECA, to be finalized after the photovoltaic (PV) system witness test.
• EECA recommends $1,000,000 liability insurance.
• EECA has put together this list of guidelines to help the PV installation process to be streamlined. Beginning January 1, 2020 the following items below have been implemented to the interconnection requirements. To view this in printable/document form, click here.
- prior to any interconnection activity, installers will need approval from the EECA Engineering Department. This is to verify the interconnection will be approved and to verify that no additional equipment and/or service upgrade is needed by the EECA member.
- if the inverter maximum output is over 40 amps, the interconnection shall be a line side tap within 4 feet of the meter base with a weatherproof junction box and A.N.S.I. approved splices provided by the installer. This will need to be coordinated with the EECA Engineering Department.
- all PV systems shall be equipped with a rapid shut down.
- a correct one-line-diagram with site plan is to be submitted. Examples of a 40A & under as well as an over 40A one line diagram are available above.
- if there is a current EECA pedestal at the service location, members will be required to build a meter structure to EECA specifications. The coop will remove the pedestal.
- if tying (connecting) into a meter on an EECA pole, installers must go underground and come up in the bottom of the disconnect. No generation associated equipment may be installed on an EECA pole.
- no interconnection may be made unless there is a disconnect installed on the meter and there are no safety violations with the service.
- all systems shall be installed per the most current National Electric Code.
- when/if installing a ground-mount PV system, solar panels shall not be located within 10 feet of any primary underground electric services.
- installers shall be present upon final interconnection inspection (witness test) with EECA. At this time EECA personnel will set the net & production meters.
- the solar generation source will be landed on the top side of the production meter.
- Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association is the governing body for interconnection within our territory. The Engineering & Operations Department may require more than is listed if deemed necessary by site.
NOTE: Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association reserves the right, at any time, to amend any part of this guideline/policy including, without limitation, the type, amount or application of any Distribution and Transmission Charges, penalties or rebates set out in this guideline. This guideline is intended as a summary only and is not intended to be a statement of Egyptian Electric’s rights and obligations in relation to distributed generation.
Completion of Install
Please allow 1-2 weeks from the time your contractor has completed the system installation, and notified EECA, for the engineering and metering department to coordinate and set-up the inspection. After inspection and approval, the meters will be installed. Application will not be approved, inspection and meters not scheduled to be installed/exchanged unless the following is completed:
• A visible lockable A/C disconnect must have been installed as required. Breakers at the metering point location do not constitute as the “visible, lockable disconnect” that is required.
• The original completed and signed Agreement for Interconnection and Parallel Operation of Distributed Generation must be received with the appropriate month April or October, as to when your annual net-metering true-up reset month will be. If not selected, April will be selected as the default. A final copy will be given to you, with the EECA representative’s signature, for your records. A final line diagram should be submitted, only if changes were made.