The safe and reliable installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems and their integration with the nation’s electric grid requires timely development of the foundational codes and standards governing solar deployment. Technological advances, new business opportunities, and legislative and regulatory mandates are all contributing factors that drive the need for up-to-date interconnection and interoperability standards that ensure cross-technology compatibility of jurisdictional requirements.

Codes and Standards Challenges and Opportunities

Technology advances have outpaced the base codes and standards for the interconnection and interoperability of PV systems. New business opportunities have extended the technical needs beyond what is mandated or explicitly addressed in existing codes and standards for solar grid integration. The diversity and convergence of distributed generation, storage, and load control technologies require synchronization of the codes and standards that have been developed within each of the technology silos.

The U.S. Department of Energy and its national laboratories have a unique opportunity to provide national support and technical assistance to fill gaps and overcome barriers in the interconnection and interoperability requirements, including development, validation, and conformance evaluation activities. By developing an improved cycle of coordination that includes lab development and validation, as well as working with industry through standards development organizations, DOE expects to accelerate the pace of establishment and revision of standards and test procedures for grid connected devices and systems in a much more coherent manner.

Current Projects

The Accelerating Systems Integration Codes and Standards  project uses innovative techniques to accelerate the historically slow time that it takes to develop the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1547 standard series. The project team provides leadership and technical assistance in partnering with industry experts for accelerating revisions to these foundational codes and standards governing PV system interconnection and interoperability. Additionally, the Standards and Test Procedures for Interconnection and Interoperability project addresses the harmonization of distributed energy resource interconnection and interoperability standards across technologies and jurisdictions.