SunSpec Alliance setting standards for the solar industry

BP Oil Spill

Photo credit Tom Raftery (Me!) is an alliance of renewable industry companies whose aim is to define communication standards data monitoring for the solar power industry.

Up until now there haven’t been any standards agreed around data communication in the solar power industry which added huge cost and complexity to the monitoring and management of solar farms – especially when there were multiple vendors involved. These lack of interoperability and increased cost issues have greatly hobbled solar power’s growth.

To address this the SunSpec Alliance was formed last year with the express purpose of defining standards which, if widely adopted, should significantly speed up the deployment of solar energy systems and be a big help in their management, reporting and maintenance.

On this coming May 11th, the Alliance will publish their initial set of proposed communication standards for the industry and open them up for public review and comment. The first specifications cover the inverter, the meter and the environmental sensors.

The release of these documents will be followed up by implementations of the specifications by Alliance member companies, testing, certification and a branding project to bring those products to market. Once these standards start to become widely adopted, they can be proposed to the IEC or the IEEE to become official international standards.

Standards are hugely important for the growth of any emerging industry. In the case of solar power, the standards will be all the more important, coinciding as they are with the with the arrival of smart grids and the development of smart grid interoperability standards.

You should follow me on twitter here.


  1. says

    Hi Tom – totally agree, issue of standards in emerging sectors is vital. The well meaning but now tarnished carbon offsets market struggled with standard setting –

    Solar needs to learn the lessons and is addressing data and a common approach in a more coordinated manner. The UK Government’s ‘feed in’ tariff scheme is a good example of a structure approach, and achieving benefits sooner rather than later is a driving force, in playing catch up to fix the bigger issues.

    We offer free solar panels at HomeSun, based on the Government’s scheme, enabling households to get started with solar as achievable and beneficial means to lowering their bills and using renewable energy sources. The future for solar is bright (sorry) and more standards will lead to more credibility.