Requirements for Self-Generation

If you, or your business, want to generate your own power to supplement the electricity you purchase from PWP,  there are certain safety and interconnection procedures you are required to follow.

Image of an electrician at a photovoltaic farm

Why Choose Self-Generation? 

Backup or Emergency Power

During a PWP outage, customers who have back-up power from a battery or generator would be able to maintain electricity as long as it is available. Keep in mind that power outages in Pasadena are extremely rare, and batteries are limited in their capacity to deliver long-term power. Solar panels that are not hooked up to batteries will not deliver power during an outage.

Cogeneration

Some customers have a consistently high need for steam or another form of thermal energy and opt to simultaneously produce electricity and heat, called cogeneration or Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Cogeneration is primarily used in the industrial sector. 

Green Power

Self-generation is often used by customers who want to reduce their carbon footprint using renewables such as solar power, wind turbines, and hydroelectric. For a more affordable way to reduce your carbon footprint choose PWP’s Green Power Option and power your home or business from 100% renewable sources, which produce no emissions at all. 

Note: Self-generation technologies are installed on the customer’s side of the electric meter.

How to Self-Generate Safely – Application Process

For your safety and the safety of your neighbors and PWP employees, you must receive PWP’s authorization to interconnect. Your installation must meet all local, state, and federal codes and regulations, before connecting to the electric grid.

  • Please read and understand Regulation 23 in the city’s municipal code. It provides application and interconnection procedures for PWP customers who wish to install self-generation technologies.
  • Please read and understand Regulation 21, which details electric service regulations for all PWP customers.

Interested in Solar? 

Customers with qualifying renewable electric energy generation resources such as solar, wind, biofuel, and geothermal up to 1 megawatt that serve on-site load billed under the Net Energy Metering Rate Schedule (PMC 13.04.177).

If you are considering installing solar, visit our Solar Application page for instructions on how to apply.

Other Self-Generation Technologies 

Self-Generation, also called Distributed Generation,  includes a variety of technologies such as reciprocating engines, micro-turbines, fuel cells, combined heat and power and more. Customers interested in other types of self-generation technologies that do not qualify for Net Energy Metering Rate Schedule will be billed for PWP electric service under the Self-Generation Rate Schedule (PMC 13.04.178).

Adding new self-generating facilities to the local grid impacts the entire electric distribution system. The interconnection process enables PWP to examine the impact of a SG project on the grid. Follow the steps outlined in the PWP Interconnection Process: 

1.  Submit SG Application Package

Submit all documents listed below including the application fee to: Pasadena Water and Power, Attn: Customer Relations – DG Applications. 150 S. Los Robles Ave. Suite 200 Pasadena, CA 91101.

  • Application – Download the GFIA Generation Facility Interconnection Application Form
  • Fee – Submit the $800 application fee. Make check payable to “City of Pasadena.” Additional fees may apply if it is determined that a supplemental review or detailed interconnection study is required.
  • Site Plan –Description of the system, electrical and mechanical parameters, operating principles and procedures.
  • Single Line Diagram – Drawings and descriptions of electrical components such as: electrical service, wires, generators, transformers, etc.
  • Certification Test – A report that verifies if your equipment complies with PWP-approved performance standards.
  • Copy of signed contract between your company and your contractor (if available)

2.   PWP Reviews Application Package

PWP will review the application package, identify the meter requirements, and determine if the facility qualifies for a simplified interconnection or if a supplemental review or detailed interconnection study is required. If a supplemental review or Detailed Interconnection Study is required, you will be notified of any additional fees and procedures.

3.  PWP Issues Application Approval Letter

After PWP reviews and approves your application package, PWP will issue an application approval letter. This letter must be presented when applying for a building permit (described in Step 5).

4.   Sign Interconnection Agreement

The customer must fill out and sign the PWP GFIA Generation Facility Interconnection Agreement. There are two types of agreements: facilities generating more than 15 kW  and facilities generating less than 15 kW.  After completed the agreement that applies to your facilities, submit two copies of the agreement (both copies must have original signatures) and mail to: Pasadena Water and Power, Attn: Customer Relations – DG Applications. 150 S. Los Robles Ave. Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91101.

5.  Obtain Building Permit Application

A building permit from the City’s Department of Planning and Development is required before installing an SG system. The Permit Center is located at 175 N. Garfield Ave in Pasadena, Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information in how to obtain a building permit, visit the Permit Center site or call 626.744.6646. Please present a copy of the SG application approval letter when applying for a building permit.

6.   Install The System & Schedule Inspections

After the installation is complete, the customer must contact the Pasadena Fire Department at 626.744.4200 for a fire inspection and the Building and Safety Department at 626.744.4655. The inspectors will verify that the system conforms to building, electrical and fire safety codes. IMPORTANT: After the system passes inspection, the equipment must remain in the OFF position. Turning the system on before the standard utility meter is replaced with an appropriate meter may cause billing errors and additional charges on the customer’s electric bill.

7.  Request For “Permission To Operate”

To request permission to operate the system, submit the documents listed below to Pasadena Water and Power, Attn: Customer Relations – DG Applications. 150 S. Los Robles Ave. Suite 200 Pasadena, CA 91101. PWP will then replace existing utility meter with the appropriate meter for the system.

  • Copy of the building final inspection sign-off
  • As-built site plan, if different from initial plan approved by PWP
  • As-built electrical drawings, if different from initial drawings approved by PWP
  • As-built modifications such as changes in equipment type, capacity, location, etc.

8.   “Permission To Operate” Granted

After the installation passes PWP field inspection and the appropriate meter has been installed PWP will issue “Permission to Operate” letter authorizing customer to operate their system. It is the Applicant/ installer’s responsibility to turn the system on.

*Please note: PWP may require a pre-construction meeting and parallel testing if necessary