QualityLogic recently completed work with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) on the California Solar Initiative Solicitation #4 project. The project was designed to demonstrate a number of new technologies including the use of standard communications interfaces to smart inverters. The standard interfaces were both the IEEE 2030.5 and OpenADR 2.0b protocols.

The objective of the SMUD’s CSI4 based inverter testing includes both laboratory and field deployments. The final report summarizes the laboratory-based smart inverter testing utilizing IEEE 2030.5 (SEP 2.0) based smart inverters from Fronius and SMA communicating with a Utility DER Head End System over IPV6 based network. This testing includes use of a DC Power Supply as a representation of a PV array.

The following CSI4 based smart inverter tests are included:

  • Registration
  • Volt-Var
  • Fixed Power Factor
  • Limited Max Real Power
  • Voltage-Watt
  • Freq-Watt
  • Connect/Disconnect
  • Monitor DER Status

The SMUD project used the QualityLogic IEEE 2030.5 Ad Hoc Client Tester as the simulated utility IEEE 2030.5 head-end in the architectural illustration below:
The Ad Hoc Tester was used to create DER programs and events that were communicated to the participating Smart Inverter with IEEE 2030.5 capabilities. The testing demonstrated that communications using IEEE 2030.5 could be established between the QualityLogic simulated utility head-end and smart inverters. A number of issues with communicating to the inverters through a conversion to SunSpec Modbus commands were identified using the test set-up.

For utility, national lab and vendor research, and demonstration projects for smart inverter capabilities, the QualityLogic IEEE 2030.5 Ad Hoc tester has proven to be a useful tool for simulating a utility head-end. Combined with the conformance analysis and detailed message logging built into the Testers, the Ad Hocs make a powerful tool for experimenting with different smart inverter scenarios and troubleshooting issues that arise.