TEP Residential Interconnection Application Process
Installers: What’s Important to Know this Month
Permission to Operate
As we are wrapping up the year and looking for Permission to Operate on our projects, please note it can take from 6-30 days for the TEP Metering Department to set a meter. To help the process move along quickly, please make sure all Design inspections are complete prior to submitting Notice of Installation Completion, and please make sure any requested power kills have been scheduled and completed.
Online Data Portal for Installers
Solar installers are required to use TEP’s online data portal, PowerClerk, to submit interconnection applications on their customer’s behalf and upload documentation and photos as needed throughout the interconnection process.
If you are a new solar installer in our service area, please complete the required information in our New Installer Packet to gain access to our online data system.
To add additional users to the PowerClerk system, please submit the first and last name, phone and email address of the new user along with the company name to email@example.com.
(For solar installers use only)
Are you a new solar installer?
Installer Roles & Responsibilities
Just as TEP is responsible for reviewing and approving solar projects in a timely fashion, installers also can ensure a smooth application and installation process for our shared customer by meeting their obligations to advance the project.
Installers are responsible for completing and submitting the Interconnection Application and required documents to TEP on the customer’s behalf using the online PowerClerk portal. They also need to secure the necessary permits, schedule inspections and obtain the required approvals and clearances. Construction of solar projects may only begin after approval from TEP.
Installers also must comply with TEP’s Distributed Generation Interconnection Requirements and our Electrical Service Requirements and notify us if there are any major modifications to a project once approved.
If a power kill is needed for the installation of a PV system, the installer needs to schedule this with TEP Design Services after the Renewables Department has approved the project. Installers must notify the customer of that appointment and ensure an electrician is on site at the customer’s home at the scheduled day and time of the appointment.
When installation is complete, the installer must submit a Notice of Completion along with “as-built” photos of the PV system to TEP. After TEP installs a new billing meter, if needed, and a production meter and issues Permission to Operate (PTO), the installer may energize the customer’s system. Installers must not operate the system until receiving a PTO from TEP.
TEP Service Requirements
All PV solar systems in TEP’s service territory must meet our Electric Service Requirements. This protects the integrity of our electrical grid as well as the customer’s equipment. Current technical requirements are found in our Technical Manual, but here are some minimum requirements:
- A system must include a dedicated performance meter (supplied by TEP for Level 1 residential projects that are grid-tied systems) to allow for monitoring of the amount of electricity produced.
- Photovoltaic (PV) modules must be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty of at least 20 years.
- All PV modules must be certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory as meeting the requirements of UL Standard 1703.
- All other electrical components must be listed by an OSHA approved Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). NRTLs include, but are not limited to, UL, CSA, Intertek, MET Labs, NSF, SGS and TUV.
- Inverters must be certified as meeting the requirements of IEEE-1547 (Recommended Practice for Utility Interface of Photovoltaic Systems) and be UL 1741 certified.
- The utility meter, inverter and utility disconnect must be installed in compliance with our Electrical Service Requirements and in a location readily accessible.
If additional modules, inverters or other equipment is added to expand capacity of an existing system, all must be tied into one dedicated production meter.
Solar installers should pay special attention to these requirements:
- SR-405 – Metering Installation
- SR-408 – Residential, Small & Permanently Unoccupied Commercial Service Entrance, 0-200A
- SR-452 – Approved Metering and Service Equipment
- SR-702 – Electric Service Requirements for Small Interconnected Distributed Generation Sources
- SR-703 – Electric Service Requirements for Medium Sized-Commercial Interconnected Distributed Generation Sources
- SR-710 – Interconnection Requirements – Distributed Energy Storage Systems, Single-Phase
Interconnection Agreements with TEP are required for all projects in our service area. Level 1 Agreements are sent electronically via email to customers for their signature using DocuSign. Level 2 and 3 agreements are transmitted utilizing AdobeSign. It is important for customers to sign and submit the agreement promptly to advance their project.
Below are the most current agreements, based on the customer’s project size:
- Exporting System Interconnection Agreement for Projects Greater than 20 kWac Effective Nov. 16, 2020
- Exporting System Agreement for Projects 20 kWac or Less Effective Jan. 27, 2021
TEP provides a DocuSign Guide to assist customers with signing the Level I Interconnection Agreement.
Diagrams & Technical Training Materials
TEP partners with Border States Electric (BSE) to provide material kits to installers for approved residential Level 1 and 2 distributed generation projects in our service area. These kits include:
- Meter socket
- Disconnect 30 amp
- Label 1
- Label 2
- Label 3
Failure to install any component in the kit may result in a meter set rejection. TEP will not reimburse customers or installers if these kits are purchased at any other electric supply store. You may contact BSE ahead of time at 520-291-1414 to see if materials are available. BSE is located at 763 E. MacArthur Circle in Tucson.
Electrical Clearance Requirements
TEP requires an electrical inspection release or clearance from the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) prior to re-energizing primary or secondary service, which has been de-energized to permit homeowners or their installers to replace or add wiring or equipment.
TEP requires an inspection release when customers or installers contact us to request a power kill. Customers claiming exemption from an inspection by the AHJ must provide TEP with an exemption letter showing that an independent inspection has been performed and by which agency.
Installers who need a power kill for the installation of a PV system should contact TEP Design Services for an appointment. It is important that installers notify the homeowner of the scheduled power kill and that the electrician is on site at the residence at the scheduled day and time.
Customers are responsible for contacting TEP in advance if there are any access issues -- such as locked gates or pets in the yard -- that might prevent our crews from accessing the residence. Projects can be delayed if power kill appointments must be rescheduled due to access issues or the absence of the installer’s electrician.
While we understand an unforeseen change can occur with a project, changes can result in project delays for additional reviews and approvals. TEP encourages installers to use the status of project staging in PowerClerk to ensure that the project specifications submitted for our Interconnection Review match your actual construction plans.
If the modification is minor, a Modification Request Form does not need to be submitted and the modification may be reflected in the Notice of Installation Completion and As Built Drawings for TEP’s review.
If a project modification is considered major, a Modification Request Form must be submitted to TEP and approved prior to construction (per SR-702).
To avoid project modifications, TEP urges installers to use the 60 days provided in Project Staging to complete the necessary groundwork and prepare accurate drawings of the project as it will be constructed prior to submitting these to TEP for Interconnection Review.
Pricing Plans & Rates
TOU Pricing Plans
Installers should be aware that residential and small commercial solar customers are required to select either the Time-Of-Use or the Demand Time-of-Use pricing plan. These plans offer lower rates when customers reduce their energy usage during times of peak energy demand and shift their usage to off-peak times. Customers should contact TEP to specify which TOU plan they prefer.
New interconnection applications submitted before October 1 each year will receive the Resource Comparison Proxy (RCP) Export Rate in effect at that time. Applications received after Oct. 1 will receive the new RCP rate, which is adjusted annually.
Customer’s bill credits for exported energy are calculated based on their RCP rate. Our Statement of Charges is available for review and explains all customer charges.
Installers should be aware that a customer’s RCP rate may change if they expand their PV system. Existing net energy metering customers will keep their same rate for the duration of their 20-year contract if the addition to a grandfathered system does not require utility distribution upgrades.
Customers with an RCP rate can find more information about expanding their system and retaining their original rate. Questions about our TOU plans and RCP rates should be directed to TEP Customer Care at 520-917-3673.
Helpful Links & Resources
- Interconnection Administrative Guide
- Interconnection Manual for Distributed Generation Projects
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Requirements (DGIR)
- TEP Electric Service Requirements for Small Interconnected DG Sources (SR-702)
- TEP Electric Service Requirements for Medium Interconnected DG Sources (SR-703)
- Installer PowerClerk Status Guide
- Installer Drawing Checklist
- Minor Modifications
- Additions to Existing Systems
- Top 20 Reasons for Interconnection Project Delays
- May 2023 Installer Meeting Slides
- August 2023 Installer Meeting Slides