SunSpec Alliance Announces First Annual Plug Fest Solar Interoperability Event

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The SunSpec Alliance, an industry coalition formed to establish global interoperability among renewable energy system components and management systems, today announced the first ever SunSpec Plug Fest, an event focused on collaborative engineering to demonstrate the interoperability of solar components and IT systems based on the SunSpec: Modbus Specification released last month. The event will take place in two phases, with Phase One taking place September 20-22 at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Phase Two taking place October 11-15 at Solar Power International 2010, the largest solar conference and trade show in the United States.

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"This event will help establish interoperability throughout the solar technology ecosystem, enabling much faster and more cost-effective rollouts of renewable energy systems and the Smart Grid.”

The SunSpec Alliance, an industry coalition formed to establish global interoperability among renewable energy system components and management systems, today announced the first ever SunSpec Plug Fest, an event focused on collaborative engineering to demonstrate the interoperability of solar components and IT systems based on the SunSpec: Modbus Specification released last month. The event will take place in two phases, with Phase One taking place September 20-22 at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Phase Two taking place October 11-15 at Solar Power International 2010, the largest solar conference and trade show in the United States.

What: First Annual SunSpec Plug Fest, an event for the demonstration and achievement of solar component interoperability
When: Phase One – September 20-22, 2010
Phase Two – October 11-15, 2010
Where: Phase One – The California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Phase Two – Solar Power International 2010, Anaheim, CA
How: To sign up or for more information, please send an email or call (831) 334-5567

Exactly what is a “Plug Fest”?
Similar to the interoperability exercises that enabled the Internet to rapidly and widely usable, the principle objective of the SunSpec Plug Fest is to establish plug-and-play communications among renewable energy devices, thus driving down total industry integration costs and creating a vibrant market for compatible devices and services. Engineering practitioners benefit by establishing best practices and by helping to define standards that will shape the Smart Grid.

“The entire purpose of this vendor-agnostic exercise is to help all manufacturers of solar/PV components and devices integrate standards-based communications technology into their equipment,” said Tom Tansy, Chairman of the SunSpec Alliance. “In doing so, this coalition will help establish interoperability throughout the solar technology ecosystem, enabling much faster and more cost-effective rollouts of renewable energy systems and the Smart Grid.”

The SunSpec Plug Fest leverages recently-published SunSpec Specifications (“SunSpecs”) by enabling participating vendors to easily create compatible solutions that can plug into the information technology services comprising the Smart Grid. Current SunSpecs define data formats for solar inverters, meters, and environmental sensors and are freely available for downloading at http://www.sunspec.org/specification/.

Who should participate in the Plug Fest?
The SunSpec Plug Fest is open to all individuals and companies representing the renewable energy component industry (inverters, PV panels, string combiners, monitoring hardware, trackers, environmental sensors, and balance-of-system components), networking firms, software SCADA providers, Smart Grid solution providers, computer hardware companies, renewable energy project development firms, system integrators, financial institutions, regulatory agencies, utilities, energy consumers, and others concerned with creating a seamless, integrated, and safe networking and application environment for the energy marketplace. This is a hands-on software engineering event, so come ready to write code and make your products play well with others.

The complete list of SunSpec Alliance members, all of whom participated in the creation of the specifications, is available here: http://www.sunspec.org/members/. SunSpec members will be actively driving and participating in the Plug Fest events.

Membership in the SunSpec Alliance is open to the full spectrum of industry stakeholders, including project developers, system integrators, PV equipment manufacturers, networking vendors, software companies, monitoring service providers, energy producers and consumers, utilities, other non-profit organizations, and individuals. The Alliance’s open collaboration and other operating principles have been modeled after successful consortium and standards-making bodies that enable cooperative efforts on an international scale. The SunSpec Alliance is seeking increased industry support to help define additional equipment standards, data reporting and application interfaces, and testing and certification programs. To join the SunSpec Alliance, please visit http://www.sunspec.org/join/.

To download the SunSpec: Modbus Specification, please visit http://www.sunspec.org/specification/.

About SunSpec Alliance
The mission of the SunSpec Alliance is to dramatically accelerate the growth of the renewable energy market worldwide by standardizing data interfaces of energy system components. The SunSpec Alliance achieves its mission by defining open interface standards for renewable energy system components, thus enabling renewable energy systems to interact with information technology systems in a predictable and reliable manner. Membership in the SunSpec Alliance is open to corporations, non-profits, and individuals. For more information on the SunSpec Alliance charter and membership, please go to: http://www.sunspec.org.

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