Plug & Play DER Challenge

Transforming Energy with Visionary DER Interoperability

With the growth of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), the industry needs one cohesive way to integrate and interact with the electric grid.  That’s where you come in. Groups are trying their hand at developing the best interoperability solution to lower integration costs, increasing system performance, and enhance capabilities.

Phase I final submissions are in!  Download these innovative ideas for advancing interoperability. These proposals from Phase I will be asked to develop working solutions in Phase II.

Phase I 

July – September, 2018: Participants crafted ideas, created teams and adhered to the Plug & Play DER Challenge Call for Concepts. Participants completed intent to submit.

August 16, 2018: The Introduction to the Plug and Play DER Challenge webinar took place

September 26, 2018: Qualifying selected participants (announced September 14, 2018) presented their solutions at Solar Power International/North America Smart Energy Week, Anaheim, CA  with networking and the poster reception after the presentation.

October, 2018: Concept submitters interacted, formed new teams, and submitted revised proposals for the demonstration phase.

November – December, 2018: Review & Feedback to submitters in preparation for Phase II.


Phase II

Q1 2019 Presentation at DOE Innovation X lab and webinar – stay tuned.

Live Demonstrations – Live demonstration of hardware/software for DER integration and coordination with a utility grid entity (real or simulated) at a public event using Phase I challenge concepts will be demonstrated at a public event in 2019. Location TBD.

Post Phase II: Integration – Concepts from leading submissions are expected to influence future directions for standards, testing, policies, and product developments.

Sign-up To Learn More

Receive the latest on what’s going on with the challenge and how you can get involved.


Download the Plug & Play DER Challenge Call for Concepts details including submission requirements and the frequently asked questions document.

Watch the Introduction to the Plug and Play DER Challenge Webinar recording and learn about the Phase I requirements for submission and general rules/guidelines.

Phase I Final Submissions are available to download.

[Name and contact information will be shared with Grid Modernization Lab Consortium]

For technical questions contact: Bruce Nordman at and Aditya Khandekar at
For non-technical questions contact: Christine Stearn at

About the challenge

The purpose of this challenge is to demonstrate visionary interoperability capabilities that can lower the costs of integrating distributed energy resources with the electric power system. This project aims to improve Interoperability as it eases technology integration. To the degree that our technologies and systems lack good Interoperability, it drives up costs, reduces system performance and capabilities and creates vulnerabilities. Particularly, in the case of DER, interoperability-related problems make it more difficult to integrate high amounts of renewable energy sources, energy storage, and demand flexibility. The GMLC Interoperability project has outlined a strategic vision of interoperability for our electric system which this challenge aims to demonstrate in reality.

Collaboration and Supporting Organizations

This challenge is being organized and administered by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) for the Department of Energy’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC), as part of an initiative to improve Interoperability, in collaboration with the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).