Underwriter Laboratories (UL) launched a new programme for testing and certification of advanced inverters used to connect distributed energy sources with grids.In a press statement, the organisation said the programme aims to help utilities simplify integration of distributed generation sources onto the grid.
The initiative uses the organisation’s new standard UL1741 SA to test and certify the safety, smartness and reaction of inverters and various interconnected distributed generation equipment.
Jeff Smidt, vice president of the Energy and Power Technologies division at UL, commented: "Brownouts or blackouts have demonstrated the far-reaching impacts of utility grid instabilities.
"We are pleased to now publish the latest updates via UL 1741 SA for grid support utility interactive inverters to meet the current market need for a more stable utility grid," added Smidt.
The new UL standards differ from the IEEE 1547 standard traditionally used by utilities in grid interconnection.
The new standard enables resources to stay online and adapt their output even when the grid is stable to ensure energy demand will not exceed the power available.
[quote] The IEEE 1547 requires distributed generation to disconnect when the grid is in stable mode.
However, the launch of the UL1741 SA follows a mandate set by the California Public Utility Commission stipulating utilities in the state to have their installed inverters adhere to the new UL standards within a year after its publication date.
UL has also established two laboratories which will use the new standards to reduce the testing time of advanced inverters to below three weeks.
Distributed generation and grid connection
In early June, smart energy solutions certification firm DNV GL partnered with power utility Hawaiian Electric Company and the US Department of Energy (DoE) on a solar energy project.
Under the collaboration, the Norwegian consultancy and certification firm has been tasked to monitor and provide accreditation of the utility’s use of a grid management technology, to integrate solar energy generation with storage.
The $2.4 million programme aims to highlight the possibility of managing increased distributed energy resources across the utility’s grid.
The initiative is part of the Department of Energy’s SHINES and SunShot projects. [Landis+Gyr wins WI-SUN certification for meter connectivity].
The SunShot project aims to accelerate the adoption of solar energy usage by making the generation platform cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade.