Plug & Play DER Challenge

Submit your Best Interoperability Idea to Win the Opportunity to Present at Solar Power International

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. Try your hand at developing the best interoperability solution to lower integration costs, increasing system performance, and enhance capabilities.  Download the full Plug & Play DER Challenge Call for Concepts details including submission requirements.

Submissions will be evaluated against a set of criteria for advancing interoperability. The best qualifying proposals will have the opportunity for presentation at Solar Power International / North America Smart Energy Week (SPI / NASEW).


Introduction to the Plug and Play DER Challenge Webinar

Watch the recording and get all of your questions answered about the requirements for submission, how to submit your ideas, and general rules/guidelines.


Phase I

Now: Participants craft ideas, create teams as necessary, and complete intent to submit

Webinar: Introduction to the Plug and Play DER Challenge took place on August 16, 2018

Phase I: Presentations & draft written submissions (download zip file)Due by Friday, September 7, 2018

Presentations – Qualifying selected participants (announced September 14, 2018) present their solutions at Solar Power International/North America Smart Energy Week, Anaheim, CA (Wednesday, September 26, 2018 from 3:20 – 4:50 pm) with networking and the poster reception after the presentation.

Opportunity for concept submitters to interact, form new teams, and optionally submit a revised proposal for the demonstration phase by October 31.


Phase II

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 early 2019. Location TBD. Details of a call for demonstrations are still being discussed.

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

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Download the full Plug & Play DER Challenge Call for Concepts details including submission requirements.
You can also download the frequently asked questions document.
For technical questions contact: Bruce Nordman at and Aditya Khandekar at
For non-technical questions contact: Sharon Thomas 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).