Smart inverters are an emerging technology that can enable more efficient integration of distributed energy resources (DERs). Like traditional inverters, smart inverters convert the direct current output of solar panels into the alternating current that can be used by consumers in their homes and businesses. Smart inverters go beyond this basic function to provide grid support functions, such as voltage regulation, frequency support and ride through capabilities.
As the number of DERs on the grid increases, the need for additional inverter functionality has grown. To date, some states have encouraged the use of smart inverters through their own rules. Additionally, existing codes and standards (e.g., IEEE 1547 and UL 1741) are being updated to ensure that smart inverter capabilities can be fully realized.
IREC’s Smart Inverter Work
IREC is actively involved in proceedings in states that are tackling the issue of how to integrate smart inverters into their rules. Some states, like California and Hawaii, are working swiftly to implement new technologies and functionality, ahead of national standards being published. Helping manage state-by-state developments, while also working towards national harmonization without disrupting industry is a challenge. IREC coordinates with a number of partners to ensure a smooth transition to utilizing these new technologies.
We promote the integration of smart inverters and their valuable functionality — which can increase DER hosting capacity — while keeping in mind the possible effects on the consumer and need for fairness across all customers.