were overdesigned for their
intended capacity and operating in a reactive maintenance mode, selling excess
power back to the grid. This
does not require much in
terms of inverter control,
thus the industry has traditionally done monitoring
rather than SCADA.
But this is all changing.
Beginning this month (
September 2017), under Rule 21,
solar equipment sold or put
in service within the state of
California, must be SunSpec
compliant. This new breed
of smart inverters, storage
devices, meters, weather stations and the balance-of-sys-tems equipment, enable easy
deployment of SCADA for
plant- and feet-level monitoring and control.
As we move into imple-
mentation of Rule 21 in
California, Act 14 in Hawaii and other states’ regulations to
control solar output and characteristics, solar SCADA will con-
tinue to take on a more central role in the evolution of the grid.
State and local utilities will incorporate solar assets into their
systems managed by SCADA by virtue of distributed energy
resource (DER) standards like IEEE 2030.5.
Equipment Tat Talks to the Grid
With the new rule, DER operators, system integrators and
DER aggregators are required to implement the Common
Smart Inverter Profle (CSIP) for California. CSIP was developed as an outgrowth of the California Rule 21 Smart Inverter process to create common communication profle for
inverter communications that could be relied on by all parties to foster “plug & play” communications level interoperability between the California Investor Owned Utilities’
(IOUs) and 3rd party operated smart inverters or the systems and service providers managing those inverters.
While the scope of this protocol was designed solely to meet
the needs of the California IOU’s requirements for communications, the profle implements widely applicable use cases
making CSIP generic and likely applicable to other regulatory jurisdictions beyond California borders. In fact, Tom Tansey, SunSpec Alliance Chairman, recently told Renewable Energy World that “a fair number of utilities will tell you that they
reached a point 18 months ago where they said ‘we’re just going
Different types of inverter communications. Credit: PcVue.