The SunSpec Alliance recently completed a decade of developing information standards for Distributed Energy and establishing a community of global leaders to adopt them. As the next decade begins, our focus has shifted toward driving adoption and realizing the industry-wide benefits--lower costs, greater innovation, expanding markets--of having done so.
An important catalyst for adoption is regulatory change, and at least three changes are occuring between now and midsummer 2020.
National Electrical Code (NEC) 2017 requirements for PV module-level rapid shutdown are now effective. This means that the 23 U.S. states that subscribe to this edition of the NEC must adopt rapid shutdown technology immediately. The states that previously subscribed to NEC 2014 (e.g. California) must now migrate to NEC 2017 requirements. SunSpec has a great open solution for the Rapid Shutdown challenge and we encourage you to check it out.
On March 22, California Rule 21 Phase 2 communication requirements will at long last become effective. Distributed Energy Resource (DER) and inverter manufacturers that want to sell in California must comply. This means supporting the IEEE 2030.5 communication protocol and having products certified by SunSpec. If you are interested in certification, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.
In the middle of 2020, IEEE 1547.1 will be published. On that date, all DER and inverter manufacturers operating in the U.S. must adopt a standard communication interface (i.e SunSpec Modbus, IEEE 2030.5 or IEEE 1815) in order to remain compliant with U.S. requirements. Please contact us if you need assistance in this area.
While communication technology is becoming mainstream, knowledge gaps related to networking and cybersecurity are apparent across the supply chain. To fill these gaps, SunSpec has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), Kitu Systems, and the University of California San Diego to develop nine educational courses and train military veteran job seekers (and your current employees) for new DER industry jobs. You can help us fine tune this program by participating in our Employer’s Survey.
A natural role for DER is incorporation into microgrids. With climate change and the need for energy resilience upon us, 2020 marks the beginning of the microgrid revolution. Look for standard communication technology and SunSpec to take leading roles in the development of this important energy sector.
Finally, all of these trends are global trends. To illustrate this point, Poland recently joined Denmark and the United States in mandating SunSpec Modbus in DER, and we’re working with folks in Australia to update their grid code. This is an exciting time for the industry and we’re very pleased that we have great partners like you to help make the SunSpec vision of smart distributed energy a reality.
With kind regards,