The Pace of Innovation Increases
I’m very pleased to announce that two new SunSpec Specifications are available for public review and comment: SunSpec Module (Panel) Specification and SunSpec Logger Protocol Specification. These specifications have been recently made available for download from sunspec.org
and will be presented to the board of directors at the next board meeting in January for official approval. Your comments and feedback are most welcome.
The SunSpec Module (Panel) Specification workgroup was led by Yaron Binder of SolarEdge. This document describes the data model and Modbus register mappings for module-level electronics that support both the monitoring and optimization of power generation. This specification may be used in conjunction with the Aggregation method described in the SunSpec Common Model Specification to scale beyond the limitations of the Modbus protocol to support installations with hundreds or thousands of panel modules. The specification includes standard status and event codes, and mappings for both integer-plus-scale-factor and floating-point values of measurements. Measurements include readings of current, voltage, power, energy, and temperature of the module output as well as both input and output measurements for DC optimizers.
The SunSpec Logger Protocol specification workgroup was led by Lynn Linse of Digi International. This document defines an XML schema (xsd) for transferring data from a Data Logger to an application server over the Internet using the HTTP POST protocol. The schema is deliberately terse to facilitate data transfers over connections with limited bandwidth. Compression of the XML is also supported for further bandwidth efficiency. The model is very general and can be used to upload data from SunSpec compliant devices as well as non-SunSpec devices.
Work on the more comprehensive SunSpec Logger Specification is ongoing. The group is currently meeting bi-weekly on Tuesday at 8am PT. The Inverter workgroup has begun meeting again bi-weekly on Wednesday at 8am PT. This group has taken up the topic of inverter control and will propose a SunSpec mapping of functions described by the EPRI workgroup on advanced controls for inverters.
For more information on the SunSpec Alliance Technical Committees, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Nunneley, Executive Director
2012: Steady As She Goes
Having spent portions of 2011 in the largest solar PV markets of Europe and the Middle East, I can tell you that dramatic growth is a messy business. With the time to negotiate and secure equipment measured in days, and the need to mobilize large work crews to complete huge projects in a few short weeks or months, I am amazed at our industry’s ability to adapt and change. These are great attributes to possess right now because we can look forward to even more growth, adaptation, and change in the coming year.
By most accounts, 2012 promises to be a bellwether for the solar PV industry. Two primary reasons stand out: 1) the evolution of a global PV market that is not overly influenced by a single national market and 2) the emergence of the utility-scale PV sector as a primary catalyst for growth.
In a global PV market, intuition says that all eyes should be focused on the west–toward the U.S.–and beyond, toward China and the Indian sub-continent. These are the markets that will experience the most dramatic growth in 2012. In the U.S. and China, utility-scale installations of sizes unimagined elsewhere could well dominate the scene for the next decade.
Given the scope and scale of what will be demanded of the industry in 2012, calm nerves and a steady hand are certainly required. Planning and knowledge also help. This is why the SunSpec Alliance, and John and I in particular, will be participating in the PV Power Plants – USA 2011 conference on November 31 and December 1 in Phoenix. We’ve participated in these events in the past, both in Las Vegas and in Prague, and have always come away very impressed with both the knowledge the industry possesses and the scope of the problems yet to be addressed. Knowing full well the efficiencies that standardization can create for the market, we look forward to participating with our industry colleagues in Phoenix and spreading the word about the SunSpec Alliance.
All the best,
Tom Tansy, Chairman