All electric utilities in Arkansas, with the exception of municipally owned, are regulated by the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC). The current rules set forth by the APSC regarding renewable energy and net metering state:
Before Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative (AVECC) approves a net metering facility, the following conditions must be met:
- The net metering facility must use solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, or biomass resources to generate electricity.
- The net metering facility must have a generating capacity of no more than 25-kW for residential use or 300-kW for any other use.
- The net metering facility must be interconnected to a metered service billed under any of AVECC’s metered rates. The account must be in the name of the owner of the net metering facility.
- The net metering facility must be intended primarily to offset some or all of the net metering customer’s requirements for electricity.
- Additional services on the same premises are eligible for net metering provided the combined size of all net metering facilities for residential use does not exceed 25-kW and the combined size of all net metering facilities for non-residential use does not exceed 300-kW.
Any excess kWh generated by the net metering facility will reverse the kWh on the electric meter. If the electricity generated by the net metering facility is fed back to the cooperative and exceeds the electricity supplied by the cooperative during the billing period, then the member will receive a kWh credit for the accumulated net excess kWh from month-to-month until the end of the calendar year. The member will not receive a special bill. The kWh credit will be maintained in AVECC’s billing system. The monthly availability charge and minimum bill still applies even if no electricity is purchased.
At the request of the member, monthly excess kWh credits may be transferred to additional accounts in a rank order provided by the member. The additional accounts must be in the name of the member who owns the net metering facility. The member must provide the rank order of additional accounts at least 30 days prior to the first requested transfer, and the member only can make changes to the rank order one time in the calendar year. If the additional accounts are not in the same billing cycle as the net-metered account, those accounts will be moved to a common billing cycle. The additional accounts do not have to be the same class of service. Excess kWh credits will be applied to the additional accounts up to the amount needed to net zero the kWh usage on each account in the rank order provided. Credit kWh will not be divided proportionately across the additional accounts, and the additional accounts cannot carry forward credit kWh from month to month. If the member has multiple net metering facilities, each net meter facility must have its own rank order list of additional accounts. An account only can be assigned to one rank order list. Up to four months’ average usage on the net-metered account may be carried forward from one calendar year to the next calendar year. Excess kWh credits over the four months’ average usage will expire at the end of the calendar year, and the member will not receive payment from AVECC for the net excess kWh.
The net metering system is required to meet all local and national electrical codes, including National Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the National Electrical Safety Code and Underwriters Laboratory. For solar systems, the inverter must be UL 1741/IEEE-1547 compliant. AVECC assumes no liability or responsibility for the installation or operation of the net metering system because the cooperative does not inspect the equipment, wiring or installation beyond the interconnection to the meter. Member must submit a design drawing and product literature for AVECC’s approval prior to the installation.
The member must complete and submit a copy of the standard interconnection agreement and ownership affirmation at least 30 days prior to the planned interconnection. The interconnection agreement will be signed at the time the system is commissioned by AVECC. Once the equipment is installed, the member must contact AVECC to schedule a site visit for AVECC personnel to commission the installation. The net metering equipment must remain disconnected from the electric meter until the system is commissioned. AVECC will verify two things at the time of the site visit – that the net metering equipment disconnects from the electric meter during a power outage and that the electric meter runs backward when the net metering equipment is feeding back to the cooperative.
A renewable energy power plant, regardless of size, can be connected to AVECC distribution system if certified as a qualifying facility by Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation. Power will be purchased by AECC through a wholesale power contract.