NREL and UL Release New Standard for Solar Inverter Cybersecurity

Recently, UL Solutions have publicized the publication of UL 2941. It is the Outline of Investigation (OOI) for Cybersecurity of Distributed Energy and Inverter-Based Resources.

UL 2941 was developed by UL Solutions with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It brings testable requirements for generation technologies and energy storage on the distribution grid.

The said standard comprises requirements for fuel cells, wind turbines, electric vehicle chargers, photovoltaic inverters, and other resources vital to advancing grid operations. It can be noted that DOE called for increased cybersecurity measures for distributed energy resources way back in 2022. Such a new standard may be the solution to the said need.

Advantages of Employing Cybersecurity Standards on Inverters

Cybersecurity is a rising concern as inverters get smarter nowadays. Hence, the birth of UL 2941. The latter are new requirements to prioritize cybersecurity improvements for solar power systems that deal with high-penetration inverter-based equipment and resources. It includes those interfacing with bulk power systems for sudden solar and hybrid/storage generation, and high wind production.

UL 2941 will help promote the need to have cybersecurity intended for distributed energy resource (DER) systems and new inverter-based resources (IBR).

Hopes and Compliments for UL 2941

Kenneth Boyce, the senior director for principal engineering in the Industrial Group at UL Solutions, even reiterated that performance-based security is important to ensure a reliable electrical grid infrastructure. With the help of UL 2941, both vendors and manufacturers of IBR and DER devices can use the new cybersecurity certification requirements which would provide a unified approach that can be employed as a reference for performing certifications and testing of DERs before deployment and actual field use.

Meanwhile, Danish Saleem, senior energy systems cybersecurity engineer at NREL highlighted that the publication of UL 2941 serves as a milestone in securing the future of distributed generation industry. Government officials, regulators, asset owners, and equipment manufacturers have established a basis for strengthening device security by monitoring devices and parts of the IBR systems as well as network-connected IBRs.

Final Thoughts

NREL and UL Solutions will now start using this new OOI to test IBRs. Products that are compliant with UL 2941 will be immediately eligible for UL certification. This testing intends to be an optional add-on service for IBRs. Thus, complementing UL 1741 which is also the standard for interconnection system equipment for use with distributed energy resources, inverters, converters, and controllers.

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