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Electric Service Handbook


Pages: Interconnecting Generation

Generation Interconnection
A generator is anything which produces electricity.  This could be a gas powered generator, a wind turbine or a solar panel. Proper interconnection of a generator to a home or commerical electrical system is extremely important. An improper installation can affect your safety, the safety of the public and the safety of Dakota Electric's employees. Knowing what you are doing may save your life or your property. The following is some information which must be followed to ensure a safe and reliable generation interconnection.  
National Electrical Safety Code (NEC) - The requirements of the NEC must be followed for all generation interconnections. The installation must be inspected by the proper authorities. The NEC requirements are not covered in this area.  Contact a licensed electrican to help ensure a safe and reliable installation.  
Portable Emergency and Standby Generator Installations - Installing a temporary back-up generator that will provide electricity during power outages for your home or business, through the building's existing wiring, requires careful installation. Failure to properly interconnect a generator could result in backfeeding the utility system and energize the primary wires at thousands of volts.  This could be lethal for the general public and Dakota Electric field crews working to restore your electrical service. For more information on the issues involved see the Portable Emergency and Standby Generator Installations page.
Permanent Generator Installations - When permanently installing a generation system with an automatic transfer switch, notification and coordination with Dakota Electric is required. This is due to the possiblity of the generation system backfeeding the Dakota Electric System. Dakota Electric will work with you to ensure a safe and reliable installation. Dakota Electric has adopted the Generation Interconnection Process and Requirements established by the State of Minnesota for all generation systems (solar, wind, bio-mass, diesel, natural gas or other fuel source) smaller then 10 MW. For more information on the process and requirements of interconnecting a permanent generator see the Permanent Generator Installations page.
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Small Renewable Generation System Installations - Dakota Electric supports the interconnection of renewable generation systems such as wind or solar. A streamlined process has been created to cover the interconnection of inverter based renewable generation having a total rated nameplate capacity less than of 40 kW. For more information on the streamlined process and documents see the Small Renewable Generation System Installations page.
For questions, inquires, and application submittals for small renewable generation please contact:
PLEASE NOTE: Failure to properly interconnect a generator could be lethal for the general public and Dakota Electric field crews working to restore your electrical service. An improperly interconnected generator has the ability to send power flowing back into the utility system,  energizing the utility primary wires at thousands of volts. During an electrical power outage, the wires supplying your home or business were automatically denergized for a reason.  This is typically due to the wires being damaged, possibly exposed and laying on the ground.  If your generator backfeeds and energizes these wires, it would create a very unsafe situation.  Consult your electrican and Dakota Electric Association to ensure a safe interconnection.
Notice to Cogenerators - in compliance with Minnesota Adopted Rules Relating to Cogeneration and Small Power Production, Chapter 7835, Dakota Electric Association is required to interconnect with and purchase electricity from cogenerators and small power producers that satisfy the conditions of a Qualifying Facility*.
Dakota Electric has available and will provide free information to all interested members regarding rates and interconnetion requirements.  An application for interconnection is required for a Qualifying Facility to interconnect and operate in parallel with the cooperative's distribution system and is subject to the approval by the cooperative.
Any disputes over interconnections, sales and purchases are subject to resolution by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
*A Qualifying Facility is a generation system that meets the requirements of the federal PURPA rules ("Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act - 1978")  These facilities are powered by renewal sources, such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass,  Diesel fueled and gas fueled generators are not qualifying facilities under the PURPA rules.