AC Disconnect Switches for Inverter-Based Generation

In response to your requests and in support of the California Solar Initiative, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has modified its policy regarding the installation of an AC disconnect switch on inverter-based generation systems. This includes photovoltaic (PV), fuel-cell, and inverter-based rotating machine technologies. Effective November 21, 2006, customers installing inverter-based systems will no longer be required to include an AC disconnect switch when the facility has a self-contained electric revenue meter (i.e. 0-320 amp socket-based meter or 400 amp K-based meters). This type of meter is used by 98% of all PG&E customers.

Please Note: Do be sure to check with your local governmental jurisdiction to determine if a disconnect switch is required by them in order for you to obtain a final electric permit on an installed photovoltaic or fuel cell system, and/or other inverter based rotating machine technologies.

To accommodate this change while maintaining utility operating needs, the revenue meter, when appropriate, may be temporarily removed by PG&E to isolate the customer's generator from the electric distribution system. Removal of the revenue meter (due to an emergency or maintenance on PG&E's system) will result in loss of electrical service to the customer's facility or residence.

PG&E recommends that customers installing an inverter-based generator consider also installing an AC disconnect switch that only isolates the customer's generator and not the customer's load, to facilitate maintenance of the customer's equipment (i.e. inverter, PV arrays, etc). The AC disconnect switch provides the additional benefit of allowing PG&E to isolate the customer's generator from the utility's distribution system without having to interrupt service to the customer's facility or residence.

PG&E's AC disconnect requirement for Distributed Energy Resources (Distributed Generation) will continue to apply to:

  1. Inverter-based interconnections having a transformer-rated meter (i.e. all meter panels or switchboards employing the use of potential and current transformers).
  2. Non-inverter based generators, including rotating or machine-based generators - regardless of whether the service meter configuration is transformer-rated or self-contained.
  3. Special situations where generators may be impacting PG&E's service to its customers.

Please note: PG&E requires that access to the meter area not be impeded by animals, locked gates, or other obstacles and that the meter remain accessible at all times. Special arrangements can be made to provide secure access by PG&E personnel, as required. Contact PG&E for information.

If you have any questions about the new policy or its implementation, please email us at gen@pge.com or leave a message at our gen hotline, 415-972-5676.

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