12 May 2010

SunSpec creates solar communication standard

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New standard aims to allow solar developers to easily integrate technologies from different manufacturers

A consortium of renewable energy equipment vendors has released a new specification that it hopes will allow solar equipment from different manufacturers to talk to each other.

The SunSpec Alliance's ModBus specification will create a common language that will enable customers to integrate different manufacturers' solar systems, it said this week.

The ModBus specification will make it possible for photovoltaic systems from different vendors to communicate using a single protocol that will make it easier for them to be monitored centrally.

The group said that the open interface standard would help to drive down construction costs by speeding up the installation process. The specification will also reduce operating costs by shortening staff learning curves and integrating previously disparate management systems, according to the alliance.

The specification, currently in draft form, is open to public comment and includes several documents. A common device model complements an environmental model, along with specifications for meters and inverters.

"All SunSpec devices will support a common block of data elements and overall structure," said a spokesperson for the group on its web site. "These common elements support needed operations for device identification and asset management. The common block is followed by one or more device specific blocks. These contain the measured values, status, alarms, and other values that make up the device type."

(BusinessGreen)

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