SunEdison, SMUD, and Leading Inverter Manufacturers Announce Support for Utility Standard ANSI C12

March 08, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

SunEdison announced that the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), SatCon Technology, and Xantrex Technology will join the company in support of the adoption of utility industry standard ANSI C12. The adoption of the ANSI C12 at the inverter level by January 2009 will standardize detailed system level output reporting for solar photovoltaic power plants and hybrid grid systems (photovoltaic deployed at traditional utilities).

Currently, utilities and solar energy service providers measure ac power output at the meter to the ANSI C12 standard, but not to the inverter level. At the inverter level, each solar system deployment requires specific knowledge of that particular system’s information technology and software. Adoption of ANSI C12 at the inverter level will create a consistent taxonomy across the industry that will simplify management of individual and scaled solar system deployments. ANSI C12 standard at the inverter level will enable more consistent reporting for ease of integration onto the electrical power grid in the same manner as other utility grade equipment. This will provide greater operational scalability for solar energy services providers, utilities and customers managing their own power plants.

"As the first utility to broadly adopt and deliver solar energy at a system-wide level, SMUD understands the complexity of large scale implementation," said Jon Bertolino, SMUD Superintendent of Renewable Generation. "To simplify the process of installing, operating, and maintaining solar energy systems, we recommend that other utilities also support the adoption of the ANSI C12 standard. Use of standards is an important step in meeting the industry’s goals to integrate renewable energy into our portfolio of resources."

"We applaud SunEdison’s step toward promoting common communications platforms for the solar industry. By establishing a shared framework, the entire solar industry will benefit," said Chris Thompson, VP Engineering and Product Development of Xantrex, a leading developer and manufacturer of advanced power electronic products for the renewable energy market.

"SatCon is pleased to support SunEdison and the industry in this important initiative to standardize the interconnection protocols between the electric power grid and the inverter," stated Clemens van Zeyl, President of Stationary Power Systems Division of SatCon Technology, a developer of power management and system architecture solutions for the alternative energy and distributed power markets. Van Zeyl further noted, "Inverters have the potential to modernize our electrical grid by increasing its capacity and improving its reliability, and adoption of interconnection standards is a first step in achieving this goal. We thank SunEdison for its continued industry leadership and look forward to continuing our partnership with SunEdison as a technology leader in alternative energy power systems."

"Solar is complex. It is important that others follow the lead of SunEdison, SMUD, SatCon, and Xantrex in the call for industry standards. ANSI C12 standard at the inverter level will help simplify solar for utilities, government and commercial organizations. When we all use the same terms, the industry and customers benefit," said Mark Culpepper, Vice President of SunEdison. SunEdison currently has more solar energy under direct service delivery and management than any other solar energy service provider in North America.

SunEdison will begin deployment of ANSI C12 standard compliant inverters immediately upon general availability.