SMA boosts grid services focus with EnergyHub partnership (launching first with Arizona Public Service)
SMA America is partnering with EnergyHub (provider of distributed energy resource solutions for utilities) to deliver valuable inverter management functionality to EnergyHub’s utility clients. This is a trend coming in the solar inverter space as DER is integrated more and more into utility planning.
As many utilities face the challenge of daily peak solar generation exceeding peak demand — leading to issues like reverse power flow and negative pricing — the integration between EnergyHub and SMA (and other similar virtual power plant configurations) provides utilities with tools to solve those problems. With this control mechanism in place, customers enjoy reduced energy costs of the SMA solar energy systems while the utility benefits from the increased flexibility of grid-supportive solar energy generation. This creates a win-win scenario between the utility and consumers and will allow for smart solar growth in the future.
“We take a lot of pride in the fact that EnergyHub’s Mercury DERMS has more device partner integrations than any other DERMS platform,” said Seth Frader-Thompson, President and Co-founder of EnergyHub. “Adding SMA to our roster of DER vendors is a huge win for us and our utility customers, and we’re looking forward to helping utilities get maximum value out of SMA solar systems.”
Utilities can use EnergyHub’s Mercury distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) to deliver grid services using SMA commercial and residential inverters through real-time management of essential inverter settings to support distribution network operations. The integration allows utilities to manage natively supported and remotely configurable settings on SMA inverters, including active power, reactive power, and ride-through settings.
How this will work
The companies are combining to launch the SEP 2.0/IEEE 2030.5 protocol-based integration with Arizona Public Service (APS) to enable the utility’s APS Solar Communities program. APS will use the Mercury DERMS to control SMA inverters at multi-family and commercial-sited solar PV systems throughout its service territory. The integration, which is compliant with California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Electric Rule 21 and the Common Smart Inverter Profile (CSIP), will support key use cases at APS, such as grid stability and excess solar curtailment in response to negative CA-ISO locational marginal prices.
“APS Solar Communities is a unique program that makes solar more accessible to residential customers as well as multifamily housing complexes for limited-income residents, nonprofits, Title I schools and rural governments,” said Marc Romito, Director of Customer Technology at Arizona Public Service. “The program is a prime example of how we’re using innovative technology to offer more clean-energy solutions that benefit both our customers and the grid.