Distributed generation systems are small-scale, on-site power sources located at or near customers’ homes or businesses. MidAmerican Energy Company considers distributed generation to be any electric power generation rated 10,000 kilowatts and below that interconnects to MidAmerican Energy’s electric distribution system at voltages of less than 100 kilovolts.
Customer generated power can be made with renewable or nonrenewable fuel sources; examples include small wind turbines, rooftop solar, internal combustion engines, gas turbines and fuel cells.
See the difference between how electricity is delivered
to a traditional electric customer and a distributed generation customer.
Distributed Generation is a Choice
MidAmerican Energy does not install or maintain customer-owned distributed generation systems. The customer is responsible for the initial upfront costs to install the system. If a customer has solar panels on the roof of their home and a panel breaks, the customer will be responsible to repair it, not MidAmerican Energy.
Before You Install a Rooftop Solar Panel
Customers should ask several questions prior to the installation of a rooftop solar panel.
Use this decision-making checklist to gain a better understanding of the installation process
and to track important information.
Safety and Reliability
Nearly all customers who choose to install distributed generation systems are connected to the grid. MidAmerican Energy provides backup electricity when their generating source isn’t producing enough electricity to meet their needs. Because of this connection, distributed generation customers must work with MidAmerican Energy to meet the requirements to keep the grid reliable and safe.
When a customer installs a distributed generation system, the customer must complete the distributed generation interconnection process, enter into an interconnection agreement, and receive written permission before operating a distributed generation system in parallel with MidAmerican Energy’s electric distribution system. The purpose of the interconnection process is to protect other customers and employees from risks that could result from the improper installation of distributed generation.
Distributed Generation Rate Structure
While distributed generation customers generate electricity for their own use, they also can sell any excess electricity they generate to MidAmerican Energy. If the customer has all the electricity he or she needs, any excess electricity is sent through the meter at the customer’s location to the grid, and MidAmerican Energy credits the customer. This is called net metering.
Net metering does not involve separate purchase and sales transactions – it simply tracks the difference between usage versus production, which would be the net amount. MidAmerican Energy’s distributed generation customers draw electricity from and provide excess electricity back to MidAmerican Energy. This results in production netting against power supplied by MidAmerican Energy.
A customer can choose between two rates applicable to distributed generation, the Net Metering Rate
and the Cogeneration and Small Power Production Facilities Rate
. Note: the net metering rate is not available to South Dakota customers.
For more information, review MidAmerican Energy’s distributed generation FAQs