Project Name: Cybersecurity Intrusion Detection System for Large-Scale Solar Field Networks
Funding OpportunitySmall Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR FY2019 Phase II)
SETO Research AreaManufacturing and Competitiveness
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
SETO Award Amount: $1 million
Awardee Cost Share: N/A
Principal Investigator: Randy King
Planned Timeline: 2018-2021

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project is developing a novel detection system that uses device communications and coordination to identify intrusions within a solar site’s network. Grid cybersecurity can be vulnerable to breaches despite standard cyber protections. Firewalls and other network security tools can prevent subtle movements by external actors within these networks, but these movements often go undetected. The goal of this project is to prevent network security breaches on the grid.


The team will leverage a next-generation, highly secure networking software using encrypted communication techniques to integrate many lightweight network sensors. These sensors can strengthen each other against attack by sharing the burden of searching for network intrusions. Large numbers of distributed assets, or any distributed energy resources connected to the grid, tend to provide a wide attack surface that is physically and logistically difficult to secure. The core technology will be evaluated by project partner Sandia National Laboratories. The team will conduct a field trial to demonstrate the system’s effectiveness.


Current state-of-the-art cybersecurity measures for solar sites consist of perimeter firewalls. However, firewalls are becoming less effective as data becomes increasingly encrypted. This project’s distributed sensor network, leveraging the research team’s novel networking technology, will provide new visibility within the network perimeter to track and identify anomalous behavior.