Advanced Energy’s Interconnection Commissioning Program

By Kristi Brodd | May 31, 2018

As an increasing number of independent power producer (IPP) facilities are being interconnected, it is important to ensure the quality and dependability of these facilities in order to protect the power quality, reliability and safety of the utility grid. Despite being subject to local city or county inspections, many of these facilities are not fully compliant with applicable codes and standards. To address this, Advanced Energy established an Interconnection Commissioning program that helps utilities protect the grid by verifying that IPP facilities comply with utility documentation and relevant codes and standards.


Broadly, the Interconnection Commissioning program includes the following steps:

  1. Site Documentation Review: Advanced Energy reviews site documentation for consistency and correctness.
  2. Interconnection Inspection: Advanced Energy inspects construction quality to relevant codes and standards.
  3. Engineering Report: Advanced Energy documents all required corrections identified during the inspection.
  4. Commissioning Test: Advanced Energy confirms inspection corrections are complete, reviews and documents inverter and/or customer recloser interconnection protection setpoints, and performs single-phase and three-phase cease to energize testing.
  5. Permission to Operate Letter: Once the IPP meets all Interconnection Commissioning requirements and any other utility requirements, the utility issues a Permission to Operate letter.

The entire Interconnection Commissioning process – from site documentation review to passing the commissioning test – typically takes two months but has ranged from four weeks to five months. The timing depends on the quality of the IPP facility construction and need for re-inspections or additional tests. Advanced Energy can also develop utility-specific resources to aid IPPs during the process. Examples of resources include distribution standards reference guides, in-person trainings and tip sheets.

While Advanced Energy has primarily conducted Interconnection Commissioning for distribution-interconnected solar PV facilities, the team’s expertise can also be applied to transmission-interconnected PV facilities as well as small hydro, biogas, wind and battery storage facilities.

Through the Interconnection Commissioning program, utilities can be assured that IPP facilities can be connected to the utility grid while maintaining grid safety and reliability. If you are interested in learning more about the Interconnection Commissioning program, please contact solarcommissioning@advancedenergy.org or 919-857-9009.