SunSpec Alliance Leadership News September 2016

Dear SunSpec Members and Followers,

As we enter the fourth quarter of 2016, many of the initiatives the SunSpec Alliance has championed over the preceding years are coming to fruition.

First, our work to define the utility/aggregator communication interface to advanced function inverters, first started with participation in the ZigBee Alliance Smart Energy Profile 2.0 (SEP2) program and then progressed in the California Smart Inverter Working Group, has resulted in a new California Rule 21 interconnection regulation that specifies IEEE 2030.5 (i.e. SEP2) as the default interface. The publication of CA Rule 21 enabled Underwriter’s Laboratories to complete their UL 1741 SA safety standard, enticed Hawaii to go in the same direction as California with their Rule 14H, and has forced the IEEE 1547 committee to pick up the pace to ratify a new national standard. SunSpec is poised, both with tools and compliant products from members, to support the roll out of all of these regulations.

Second, anticipating that energy storage would have communication and interconnection requirements to similar to those of solar PV, SunSpec initated development of the SunSpec Energy Storage specification. Working in partnership with MESA Alliance, we identified additional protocol harmonization needs (between Modbus, IEEE 1815 (DNP3), and IEC 61850) related to this project and took on the additional scope. It culminated this summer with the publication of both the SunSpec Energy Storage specification for lithium ion, lead acid, and flow batteries, and a SunSpec whitepaper describing the protocol harmonization effort.

Third, our multi-pronged effort to standardize data associated with solar finance (SunSpec Plant Information Exchange Specification, SunSpec O&M Cost Model, SunSpec open Solar Performance and Reliability Clearinghouse) was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as worthy of investment and has resulted in a cooperative agreement to develop Orange Button™ standards. This program has been operational for several months, has helped to deepen engagement with SunSpec member companies, and will result in lower solar financing costs.

Fourth, driven by member demand, SunSpec opened a new area of technology development about a year ago to support NEC 2017 module-level rapid shutdown requirements. The SunSpec Communication Signal for Module-Level Rapid Shutdown which was published in draft form this July and is about to be released for test and implementation.

You can learn more about each of these initiatives by attending one or more of the events highlighted in this newsletter. If you are in the U.S., I encourage you to join us at Energy Storage North America, at UC Solar, or at the IEEE 2030.5 Symposium. If you are in Asia or Europe, stay tuned for an event near you in 2017.

Finally, I am pleased to announce the opening of the SunSpec Alliance China office. This facility will enable the SunSpec Alliance to open the Chinese domestic market to all suppliers of SunSpec Certified products and will also enable us to provide engineering support to suppliers from this region.

Thanks again for your continued support. We look forward to your feedback and continued engagement.


Tom Tansy
The SunSpec Alliance


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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.