An Edge Intelligent Device for Advanced Monitoring and Control of DER Inverters in a High Penetration Distribution System

Dan Moldovan, Madhura Sondharangalla, Kunal Shah, Devarajan Srinivasan, Rajapandian Ayyanar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


As the electric power grid is brought up to date with state-of-the-art devices connected to the internet, pertinent information needs to reliably make its way from the edge to the cloud for system operators to visualize grid health. Conversely, control commands also need to be sent from the cloud to individual devices on the grid in order to maintain grid stability and safety, especially during unbalanced cases. This paper presents an affordable, brand-agnostic solution to grid data aggregation and communication using off-the-shelf products pieced together with IEC 61131-3 open source language for Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). A Phoenix Contact PLC along with some ancillary devices used to provide wireless communication capabilities were used to build an Edge Intelligent Device (EID) which interfaces with edge devices like solar inverters using Modbus protocol and the cloud using MQTT with an LTE backend for internet connection. The advantage of the EID over other similar devices is affordability and it is highly customizable. The EID was tested in both simulated and real-world applications: over 750 solar inverters were simulated in OPAL-RT and their data were transmitted to the cloud and visualized with Grafana in intervals under 30 seconds; data from a field testbed generating real data from solar panels and inverters, as well as another inverter built in-house powered by a grid simulator, was also transmitted through the EID. The paper will describe how the EID was built and coded, how the test beds were created, and show the results in Grafana.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2023 North American Power Symposium, NAPS 2023
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9798350315097
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 North American Power Symposium, NAPS 2023 - Asheville, United States
Duration: Oct 15 2023Oct 17 2023

Publication series

Name2023 North American Power Symposium, NAPS 2023


Conference2023 North American Power Symposium, NAPS 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Modbus
  • Photovoltaics
  • Power System Controls
  • Real-Time Hardware-inthe- Loop Simulation
  • Smart Grid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Control and Optimization
  • Modeling and Simulation


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