What Does California Rule 21 Mean for Me?

November 21, 2017

If you’re a homeowner who is considering making the switch to clean solar energy, then you probably already know that solar PV systems are more popular now than ever before. Solar power is growing so rapidly here in California, in fact, that legislation is being passed to help manage the massive influx of solar energy. Electric Rule 21, also known as California Rule 21, is one such piece of legislation and went into place this past September after four years in the making. Here is a brief overview of California Rule 21 and what it means for you as someone who is considering going solar.

More and More California Residents Are Going Solar

According to Solar Power World Online, “gigawatts of solar have been added to the California grid,” especially in recent years. As more and more California residents install solar PV systems and connect them to the power grid, the grid must become smarter to handle the increased capacity, with better communications and automated controls to manage voltage fluctuations. Utilities are looking to smarter solar inverters to provide these advanced grid functionalities.

Smarter Inverters for Advanced Grid Functionality

Rule 21 lays out requirements for how solar is to be interconnected to the grid and will actually roll out in three phases. Phase 1 lays out the initial requirements for advanced grid functionalities, including extending the times that solar PV systems can continue to operate during grid fluctuations. Phase 2, meanwhile, will standardize how inverters, solar energy systems, and utility systems communicate with one another and require systems to be able to communicate over the internet. Phase 3 outlines additional inverter functionality requirements such as data monitoring, maximum power controls, and remote connection and disconnection. Smarter solar inverter technology will be central to all three of these phases. Phase 1 is currently in process, and timelines have not yet been set for Phases 2 and 3.

Rule 21 and Your Solar PV System

As a California resident who is considering solar installation, you can look forward to more advanced solar inverter technology and smarter power grid integration with your solar PV system. Many of today’s solar inverters already perform all of the functions outlined by Rule 21, meaning you can go solar now and already be ahead of the curve. At SolReliable, we install high-tech inverters by SMA, Enphase, and SolarEdge, all of which are optimized for a streamlined power grid interconnection.