Smart Inverter Project Launched in Calif.

solarcityrooftopinstall Energy ManageThe SunSpec Alliance has launched a $4 million pilot project to investigate the application of interoperable smart inverters, solar PV and energy storage to enhance grid stability.

The project team includes 10 SunSpec Alliance member companies — ABB, Enphase, Ideal Power, KACO, OSISoft, Outback, SMA, SolarCity, SolarEdge and Underwriter’s Laboratory — as well as strategic partners Olivine, Strategen and the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

Key deliverables of the project include the following:

  • An open communication interface for smart inverters and energy storage devices.
  • A test framework to prove communication interoperability and compliance to new California Rule 21 interconnection requirements.
  • A field demonstration of 50 smart energy homes that will provide empirical data to validate the technical benefits of smart inverters on the grid.
  • A business analysis of the potential market impacts associated with utilizing DER systems to enhance grid stability.

SolarCity will deploy 50 smart energy homes — including rooftop solar PV, battery storage and dynamic load control devices — bound together into a single virtual power plant, and provide grid services to the distribution grid and wholesale CAISO market.

Before the technology is deployed to the grid, it will be tested and validated in the UCSD microgrid “distributed energy incubator.”

The program is being funded by a $2 million grant award from the California Energy Commission (CEC), plus another $2 million in match funding from industry partners.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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