Utility interconnection standards will be critical for increasing the connection of DER (Distributed Energy Resources), including solar PV, to distribution and transmission systems.  In the US, IEEE 1547-2018 is a predominant standard, accompanied by UL 1741 for testing, that governs interconnection of DER to distribution.  Since distribution organizations are regulated by state-level public service commissions, or a board in the case of co-operatives or municipalities, the adoption of IEEE 1547-2018 will occur by those organizations.  While only a handful of states have adopted IEEE 1547-2018 at the end of 2021, many states have opened dockets or are in the exploratory phases of adoption.  Its adoption will continue to increase, given that organizations like NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Commissioners) and NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation) are encouraging its adoption.

From a transmission interconnection perspective, a new standard IEEE 2800-2022 for inverter-based resources (IBR) interconnecting to sub-transmission and transmission systems was just published on Earth Day, April 22, 2022.  Its scope covers minimum capability and performance requirements for IBR including solar PV, wind, battery-energy storage, and hybrid plants that connect to transmission.  Like IEEE 1547-2018 for distribution, adoption of the standard is strictly voluntary, as is the case for all IEEE standards. 

As electric power systems transition to a future where large amounts of IBR are connected, IEEE 1547-2018 and IEEE 2800-2022 will play a critical role by providing standardized requirements to distribution organizations, transmission organizations, and DER owners and developers.  The requirements are technical, but they will work hand-in-hand with evolving interconnection processes and will provide process and cost efficiencies going forward.  Adoption is critical for organizations to meet renewable energy goals, energy security policies, and greenhouse gas targets.  Organizations need for their individuals to increase their understanding of IEEE 1547-2018 and 2800-2022 to be successful in the new energy economy.

Tim Taylor is the instructor for the HeatSpring course “Interconnection of Utility-Scale Solar PV to Distribution”, which has been approved for NABCEP Training Credits, as well as CEU’s/PDH’s certified by IEEE. Tim will also be holding a free live webinar titled  “Utility-Scale Solar PV and Distribution Voltage Challenges” on June 8, 2022.