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Solar one of the biggest influencers of smart grid growth

By Donna Donnowitz
March 7, 2014

As utilities focus on improving their service and advancing smart grid capabilities, one of their main drivers is the growing potential of solar generation. According to Greentech Media, distributed solar power is forcing change across the industry, particular in regards to grid edge - or the area most impacted by increased rooftop solar and distributed generation. Rick Thompson, Greentech Media founder and president, recently spoke on this topic, focusing on distributed generation and how providers can harness this trend to drive change and innovation.

According to Thompson, the key issues that utilities need to focus on currently are resiliency, unpredictability and energy-centric IT, leading toward overall grid modernization.

In order to harness the opportunities present at the grid edge, as Thompson put it, providers need to ensure their grid meets the technical needs of high-quality solar distribution and two-way flows. This means investing in serial to Ethernet converters, terminal servers and related hardware to support smart meters and the other advanced technology end users will need as part of their solar setup. From energy storage to the balancing of distribution, the right hardware plays a critical role in grid resiliency.

With more consumers adopting solar solutions for their home power needs, utilities have to prepare for an inevitable shift in control over distribution away from them to the end user. Adopting improved smart grid strategies now will set the stage for maintaining control while still allowing customers to leverage the benefits of solar power and other renewable energy resources. In turn, the providers will seetheir profits rise as user satisfaction grows and their reputations for fair and responsible energy generation increase.

Ultimately, solar may not be the primary driving force behind the need for smart grid deployment, but it can be the deciding factor for those holding out on upgrading their networks and beginning the transition to cleaner, more reliable power grid technology.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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