How Standardized Solutions for Rapid Shutdown Mitigate Supply Chain Issues

Published in Solar Builder Magazine.

Between COVID-19 and escalating trade tensions, especially between the U.S. and China, the global supply chain is experiencing a period of unsteadiness. But rethinking how the supply chain looks can be a challenge, especially for sectors in which the supply chain has been built up over the course of many years.

With solar PV products being manufactured internationally, U.S. solar professionals could witness supply chain disruption firsthand. This is especially problematic as the industry moves toward compliance with rapid shutdown requirements, which are currently in place in 34 states and mandate that distributed energy resources have a simple method for de-energizing in the event of an emergency.

But there is a way for installers, purchasing managers and operations managers to better protect themselves from supply chain issues. A growing number of companies are manufacturing rapid shutdown solutions that are certified by the SunSpec Alliance, a standards body that establishes communications protocol and ensures products can operate effectively across systems, regardless of brand, origin or supplier.

Think back on some of your recent projects. Solar installers may have had jobs that are fully designed, only to find the parts they want aren’t available. Purchasing managers could face a situation where they want to switch vendors but can’t, because they rely on a specific product feature. Operations managers may face a scenario where they’re responsible for a fleet of systems, but are limited by lack of knowledge about a specific component.

These are all scenarios in which a SunSpec-certified rapid shutdown solution would help professionals keep their businesses moving forward rather than being hung up on limitations from one specific supplier.


The SunSpec Alliance has the support of many industry leaders, including balance-of-system suppliers balance-of-system suppliers with stand-alone PV module-level initiators and transmitter products (APsystems, JMTHY, Midnite Solar, Stäubli and ZERUN); inverter manufacturers with integrated transmitters (Fronius, Ginlong and SMA); semiconductor companies (Texas Instruments) and SunSpec Authorized Testing Laboratories (CSA, Intertek and UL).

Together, these companies offer more choices for solar professionals when it comes to balance-of-system components, inverters and semiconductors. Greater choice helps in times of supply chain constraints and provides a wide range of cost-effective, standardized solutions for rapid shutdown compliance. With standardized solutions in place, the solar PV industry can be more profitable, competitive and better achieve widespread deployment over other forms of energy.

When designing projects or sourcing products, be sure to evaluate the health of any vendors you may want to work with. Take into consideration the current global landscape when it comes to trade and supply chain, and when possible, consider products that are SunSpec-certified because this will give you more choice and more flexibility should you run into issues with one supplier.


Recent Posts

Latest news from our blog

2021 Annual SunSpec Alliance Member Meeting Video Recap

Watch the 2021 Annual SunSpec Alliance Member Meeting Video Recap on SunSpec TV As always, it was a pleasure to share the company of the SunSpec ecosystem at the year's Member Meeting. We are consistently humbled by the ongoing support of our members and are grateful...

Welcome to the New SunSpec Member Portal!

We are excited to welcome you to the newly updated SunSpec Alliance Member Portal! Aside from a new friendly user interface, we've added a host of additional features to enhance your experience as a contributing member of the SunSpec Alliance. From this dashboard, you...

Join us for the 2021 Annual Member Meeting

Join us for the SunSpec Alliance 2021 Annual Member MeetingDate: October 7th & 8th, 2021 Time: See Schedule for Details About this event: Please join us for the SunSpec Alliance 2021 Annual Member Meeting! UPDATE: VIRTUAL ATTENDANCE ONLY Date: October 7th &...

Software Engineer

Job Title: Software Engineer - San Jose, CA   SunSpec Alliance is seeking to hire a Software Engineer for a full-time position (40 hours/week)  to work at our San Jose, CA headquarters at competitive salary.   Job duties include: Working on a web service called...

September 2021 message from sunspec leadership

Dear SunSpec Members, Addressing new interconnection requirements--including those for advanced inverter electrical functions and corresponding data communication interfaces--is a recurring theme for SunSpec and its members. While some requirements are local, and...

SunSpec Alliance is the information standards and certification organization for the Distributed Energy Resource (DER) industry. SunSpec communication standards address operational requirements of solar and energy storage on the smart grid.