Micro-SOP: FAQ

This FAQ is for general information and doesn't constitute legal or other advice. If there's a conflict between an answer and the Program Rules or the Standard Form Electricity Purchase Agreement (EPA), the Rules and Standard Form EPA govern.

You may also find it helpful to review the Standing Offer Program FAQ.

General

When does the Micro-SOP expire?

There is currently no specified expiry date for the Micro-SOP.

What’s the advantage of the Micro-SOP over the SOP?

The Micro-SOP offers a streamlined application process with a simplified contract, metering, and interconnection requirements for community-scale energy projects. The program was designed specifically for First Nations and communities.

Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements for the Micro-SOP?

The eligibility requirements are detailed in the Program Rules.

Under the Clean Energy Act, the definition of "clean or renewable resource" as biomass, biogas, geothermal heat, hydro, solar, ocean, wind or any other prescribed resource is not exhaustive enough and open to interpretation. What is BC Hydro doing about this?

The Micro-SOP will only accept clean or renewable energy as defined in the Clean Energy Act. The list of defined resources also includes "any other prescribed resource". If you have a resource that you believe should be prescribed as clean or renewable, please contact the Ministry of Energy to make this request. If you’re not sure that a particular technology is included in the clean or renewable definition, please email us a detailed inquiry.

How will BC Hydro view multiple projects where the combined nameplate capacity of the project cluster exceeds the 1 MW Micro-SOP maximum size?

Projects that have a combined total capacity exceeding 1 MW will be moved into the Standing Offer Program.

Is BC Hydro retaining all the Environmental Attributes from clean or renewable electricity purchases?

Our current policy is to retain all the Environmental Attributes from clean or renewable purchases and the value is included in the price paid for the energy.

Certain clean or renewable electricity purchases such as biogas, landfill gas and anaerobic digester projects have upfront greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions that are associated with the capture and destruction of methane that is not common to other forms of clean or renewable electricity such as small hydropower or wind. Currently, it's industry practice to separate this GHG emission reduction for use or sale, while still considering the electricity as clean or renewable.

For Projects where GHG emissions can be reduced in the process of methane capture and combustion, BC Hydro will allow Developers to retain any rights associated with this upfront GHG reduction.  The Environmental Attributes associated with the generated renewable electricity including any future deemed GHG emission reductions from displaced grid energy, will be transferred to BC Hydro via the EPA.

I'm a BC Hydro customer and I'd like to submit a project to the Micro-SOP. Am I still able to participate?

Projects located behind a BC Hydro Customer Load are eligible to apply under the Micro-SOP; however BC Hydro will only purchase energy on a Net-of-Load basis.

Interconnection

Does the Micro-SOP require the use of a smart meter?

In an effort to reduce costs, we'll use a smart meter where technically feasible.

Who should I contact for questions about interconnecting my Micro-SOP project?

Information on obtaining an interconnection of a project is available in the interconnection section of the Micro-SOP Rules and on the Distribution Generator Interconnections website. We'd also recommend that you contact our Distribution Generator Interconnections group early on in the process.

Can I connect my project indirectly (e.g. via a third party distribution line) under the Micro-SOP?

As the Micro-SOP is a simplified process, all projects must be connected directly to the BC Hydro distribution system. If it's necessary to connect a project through a third party, a developer can apply under the SOP, which is able to accommodate more complicated arrangements.

Process

I have a project that's ready to go. How do I apply to the Micro-SOP?

Developers must submit an Application Form and supporting documentation for their project. See How to Apply.

Is there an application fee for the Program?

There is no application fee for the Micro-SOP. However, there will be other costs associated with the application process. As part of the process, the developer is responsible for paying the costs of required interconnection studies. Developers should contact our Distribution Generator Interconnections group in the early stages of preparing their Application to determine what studies are required and the costs.

Do I have to specify how much energy I'll generate?

Yes, all applicants need to provide us with their project capacity and estimated monthly energy production and related energy calculations.

Can I start my interconnection study before I apply?

We recommend Developers file their Screening Study application with our Distribution Generator Interconnections group at the time they submit their Application to the Micro-SOP.

First Nations Consultation

If I represent a community project, when should I be consulting with First Nations?

Developers are encouraged to commence consultation with First Nations as early as possible.

If I represent a community project, what material should be included in the First Nations consultation record?

A typical First Nations consultation record includes copies of correspondence with First Nations concerning the project, dates of meetings with First Nations, as well as minutes or meeting notes and presentation materials. A typical First Nations consultation record also includes any concerns that First Nations have identified with the project and responses by the developer to those concerns. Similar communications with Crown permitting agencies regarding First Nations issues and concerns should also be included.

Permitting

Will permits, zoning and site information be required when submitting the Application Form?

The Program Rules state that documents with respect to a project's permits, site control and zoning must be provided at the time an Application is submitted. Please refer to the Application Form for more details with respect to which documents will be required. Where the project consists of a Completed Prototype Generation Facility, BC Hydro reserves the discretion to identify the permits that are required prior to an offer of an EPA following a review of the project.

Pricing

What price of energy will my project be receiving?

BC Hydro will pay for each MWh of energy delivered based on:

  1. the base price as determined by the region of the point of interconnection [PDF, 240 KB]; and
  2. any CPI escalation applicable to the base price

Will the price vary based on the generation technology used?

We offer all generation technologies the same price, with prices differentiated by the region where the energy is delivered to us

Where can I find the current British Columbia CPI?

Monthly reports on the British Columbia CPI can be found on the BC Stats website.