As distributed energy resources become a larger portion of the energy produced for consumption, managing and optimizing their contribution becomes an important task. California Utilities have recently invested in building out an ecosystem for IEEE 2030.5 – a communication protocol they have determined will best allow them to manage the DERs on the grids. For vendors looking to sell to the California market, which holds 50% of the renewable energy market in the US, this may mean needing to implement a brand new protocol.

Implementing a new communication protocol into your product is no easy task, but like all successful projects, preparation is key. A large part of the preparation necessary for implementing a new communication protocol is understanding the protocol itself, then using the best tools available in the development process. Building out a robust development and maintenance infrastructure is a critical success factor, and when it comes to IEEE 2030.5, QualityLogic’s training and tools can make a significant impact on your costs, quality, and time-to-market.

Currently, the need to develop a 2030.5 implementation is driven primarily by the requirements in the interconnection Rule 21 in California. Rule 21 specifies what communication standard must be used for direct communication with the utility after January 22, 2020. Whether you are developing a solar inverter, battery inverter, EMS, use a local gateway, or interface remotely through the cloud, the first point of interaction with the utility must be able to receive and send IEEE 2030.5 signals.

In addition to the CA Rule 21 requirements, we are seeing other jurisdictions and utilities around the world taking advantage of the standardization in communications with Smart Inverters that CA Rule 21 is mandating. This means an investment in IEEE 2030.5 likely has application beyond the state of California.

QualityLogic’s suite of IEEE 2030.5 tools provide a path to create a robust QA process that maximizes efficiency and reduces the time-to-market and monetary investment necessary to meet your customer’s certification requirements.

Understanding IEEE 2030.5 and CA Rule 21

QualityLogic has helped dozens of development teams understand the IEEE 2030.5 protocol and how it is used for Smart Inverter communications in CA Rule 21. Whether you are developing your own implementation or licensing a third-party stack, understanding the basics of IEEE 2030.5, CA Rule 21, and how to test and certify products is a critical component of your success.

When choosing training to get your team up to speed, experience matters. Steve Kang, the Sr. VP of Engineering at QualityLogic, was an original drafter of the IEEE 2030.5 SunSpec CSIP Test Specification and oversees the development of the QualityLogic IEEE 2030.5 Test Tools. Steve instructs the Developer’s training workshops QualityLogic offers across the globe.

Our IEEE 2030.5 Two-Day Developer’s Workshop gives your team a dedicated opportunity to focus on understanding IEEE 2030.5 at a more detailed, technical level. With an on-site workshop at your facility, Steve is able to customize the training and ensure you have what you need to succeed.

We also periodically offer public workshops that are more suited to teams of one or two developers. We offer these both as QualityLogic workshops and in partnership with our test lab customers.

You can read more about the Workshop and see a detailed agenda on our IEEE 2030.5 training page.

Pre-Certification for CA Rule 21

After you have the education you need, your team must decide whether you will develop or purchase the IEEE 2030.5 stack of code for integration. Whether you decide to use your engineering resources to develop the code or you decide to license a third-party stack, you will need to ensure that the integration of that code into your product is flawless.

The last thing you want is to step up for CA Rule 21 certification blind. We have all seen it before. You and your team have put a great deal of work into developing the IEEE 2030.5 code for your product and you think you did a great job and are ready to go. But no matter how many hours your team put in, when you step up to certification blind, you are going to get some bugs and maybe even worse. And certification is not cheap. Having to go through multiple rounds of testing with the certification lab will be more expensive than investing in a permanent solution your team can employ.

The QualityLogic IEEE 2030.5 Functional Test Suite (FTS) is a software test tool that implements the SunSpec CSIP Test Specification for CA Rule 21. It contains every test necessary for certification, so passing the requirements enumerated in the test tool should give you confidence you will pass certification.

On top of the tool’s encapsulation of 100% of the requirements for certification, QualityLogic has partnered with the active SunSpec authorized test labs (most of which are also Nationally Recognized Testing Labs (NRTL)) to provide our test tools and world-class training for their SunSpec CSIP CA Rule 21 certification process. The Labs use the exact same QualityLogic Test Tools that you can use. So not only do you know what you need to know, but you have the actual test to take before you show up on the day of the test.

Acceptance Testing and Validation of IEEE 2030.5 Over Time

As IEEE 2030.5 continues to evolve as an industry specification and as the California utilities and others continue to refine their vision for managing the millions of DERs in the state, it will be necessary to update the IEEE 2030.5 implementation in vendor products. This will require on-going regression testing and, in some instances, recertifications over time. Integrating the QualityLogic test suite into your development and regression testing process will make it possible to meet evolving expectations efficiently and with continued quality.

As an organization, we are committed to supporting the vendors going through CA Rule 21 certification and future IEEE 2030.5 certification, and our software test tools help make certification possible. We pay attention to the forces driving change and progress in the CA energy ecosystem and are responsive to those changes. Changes to test specifications are reflected in our test tools.

The QualityLogic test tools also support more than the CA Rule 21 CSIP testing requirements. We recently issued Test application Guides for the CALSSA Test Pathway and CA Phase 3 Functions 2 and 3, all of which require a simulated utility IEEE 2030.5 server to create and send the correct test messages. Our tools are already being used by vendors and labs for these new specific certification activities.

As the Phase 2 deadline of CA Rule 21 draws near, focus will turn to Phase 3 and testing of the new IEEE 1547.1 Interoperability testing of the functionality of smart inverters. As industry focus turns to the future of testing IEEE 2030.5 functions, you can count on QualityLogic to improve or add to our test suite as necessary to ensure we can continue support vendors stepping up for CA Rule 21 certification and future IEEE 2030.5 testing requirements.

If you have an interest in talking more about the CA Rule 21 requirements, how to meet them, or how we are preparing to help vendors with Phase 3 requirements, please send us a message.