What is a Qualifying Facility?

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) was implemented to encourage, among other things,

  1. The conservation of electric energy.
  2. Increased efficiency in the use of facilities and resources by electric utilities.
  3. Equitable retail rates for electric consumers.
  4. Expeditious development of hydroelectric potential at existing small dams.
  5. Conservation of natural gas while ensuring that rates to natural gas consumers are equitable.

One of the ways PURPA set out to accomplish its goals was through the establishment of a new class of generating facilities that would receive special rate and regulatory treatment. Generating facilities in this group are known as qualifying facilities (QFs), and fall into two categories: qualifying small power production facilities and qualifying cogeneration facilities.


What Are the Benefits of QF Status?

QFs may enjoy certain benefits under Federal, State, and local laws. The benefits that are conferred upon QFs by Federal law generally fall into three categories:

  1. The right to sell energy or capacity to a utility.
  2. The right to purchase certain services from utilities.
  3. Relief from certain regulatory burdens. 


How to Obtain QF Status for Your Facility

An owner or operator of a generating facility with a maximum net power production capacity of greater than 1 MW (1000 kW) may obtain QF status by either submitting a self-certification or applying for and obtaining a Commission certification of QF status, and must do so by completing and electronically filing a Form No. 556 with the Commission. The Form No. 556  can be downloaded, electronically completed, saved to your local computer or local network, and then submitted as an attachment to an eFiling submission (using the Commission's online eFiling system). The instructions on the first pages of the Form No. 556  itself contains additional details on how to file using eFiling. There is no fee with self-certifications, but there is a fee associated with applications for Commission certifications (see our Filing Fees schedule). 


Self-Certification

A self-certification of QF status under 18 C.F.R. § 292.207(a) must include a completed Form No. 556. The Form No. 556 must be downloaded, electronically completed, saved locally to your computer or network drive, and then attached as part of an eFiling  submission to the Commission. There is no fee for filing a self-certification. Applicants submitting a self-certification must comply with the Notice Requirements for QF certification applications.

Applicants will be notified of their docket number by email once they have efiled. Keep this number for future reference. You will receive no other document from the Commission for self-certifications.

Applicants for self-certification can locate their filed documents and find their docket number by performing a New Dockets Search in eLibrary.

Application for Commission Certification

An application for Commission certification of QF status under 18 C.F.R. § 292.207(b) must include a completed Form No. 556. The Form No. 556 must be downloaded, electronically completed, saved locally to your computer or network drive, and then attached as part of an eFiling submission. Applicants must submit a filing fee with their application for Commission certification. The eFiling system will not process applications that require filing fees until the appropriate payment is made when prompted (the eFiling system will route the applicant to www.pay.gov to make their payment at the appropriate time during the eFiling submission). Filing fees can be paid via electronic bank account debit or credit card. Please visit our Filing Fees page for the most current filing fee. An applicant submitting an application for Commission certification must comply with the Notice Requirements for QF certification applications.


Notice Requirements

NOTE: All filers (including those submitting self-certifications and those submitting applications for Commission certification) are required to serve notice to the following entities. 

  • Each electric utility with which it expects to interconnect, transmit or sell electric energy to or purchase supplementary, standby, back-up and maintenance power.
  • The state regulatory authority of each state where the facility and each affected utility is located.


Major Qualifying Facility (QF) Orders

A listing of major orders listed by docket numbers.


Geographic Coordinates

If a street address does not exist for your facility, and if you are filing a Form No. 556, then line 3c of the Form No. 556  requires you to report your facility's geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) three places beyond the decimal in decimal degrees. Please convert all coordinates reported in degrees, minutes and seconds to decimal degrees using the following formula: decimal degrees = degrees + (minutes/60) + (seconds/3600).

This page was last updated on August 10, 2020