Solving the IEEE 2030.5 Interoperability Challenge in the Covid Era: a Virtual, Non-Stop Interop Program from SunSpec

Building a truly interoperable “plug and play” eco-system of vendors and products is not a trivial task, especially in the electric utility industry. The California Public Utility Commission, in cooperation with the California IOUs (PG&E, SCE and SDG&E) and the vendor community have made great strides in creating such an interoperable eco-system for smart inverter management. The key steps in the process (and indeed to create any interoperable smart grid eco-system) have been:

  • Step 1 was agreement on an industry-standard communications protocol – IEEE 2030.5.
  • Step 2 was agreement on how to implement that protocol for smart inverter management – the Common Smart Inverter Profile for IEEE 2030.5 (CSIP).
  • Step 3 was a mandate by the CPUC that products communicating with utilities about smart inverter management be certified – the SunSpec IEEE 2030.5 CSIP Certification Program. This program includes a detailed CSIP Conformance Test Specification, designation of SunSpec Authorized Test Labs and Test SW Vendor.
  • Step 4 was establishing a date after which time these products need to be certified in order to be installed and connected to the utility grids in California.

All these steps have been necessary, even critical, to achieving the ultimate goal of a “plug and play” DER infrastructure. But are they sufficient? The answer is a resounding “NO” for a number of reasons.

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