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Developers to make distribution grid upgrades themselves under pilot program

Nexamp will participate in a pilot program with National Grid in Massachusetts that will allow developer to make some upgrades to the distribution grid in order to speed up interconnection processes.
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A pilot program in Massachusetts aims to help speed up the interconnection process for distributed generation projects by allowing developers to make some grid upgrades themselves.

The National Grid DG Customer Self-Performance Pilot was created in response to requests from developers looking to perform certain system modifications to potentially reduce the overall interconnection timeline and/or cost of their DG projects.

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National Grid is allowing developers in the pilot to design, procure, and construct certain required modifications in compliance with all National Grid standards.

The program scope is limited to overhead or underground distribution line system modifications 15kV class, or below, that can be performed without working on or near energized National Grid infrastructure.

Solar and energy storage developer Nexamp was selected to participate in the pilot.

The combined projects Nexamp is building within this program are located in New Braintree, Mass., and represent around 4 MW DC of solar generation, enough to offset the energy needs of roughly 600 average homes.

Nexamp CEO Zaid Ashai called the National Grid pilot program "an innovative model" that could reduce project timelines by weeks or months.

While the utility-developer relationship can be seen as contentious during the interconnection process, Ashai said the two parties have to work together to improve the pace of clean energy deployment.

Costs associated with infrastructure upgrades and interconnection for local renewable projects are paid by the DG project developers and owners today. Nexamp argues that developers should be able to perform some of the design engineering and construction work required.

The pilot will include up to five DG applications selected during a 12-month period. National Grid will re-evaluate the eligibility requirements every quarter during the 12-month enrollment period and may make adjustments as the pilot progresses.

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