Cybersecurity Arrives For Solar Energy Installations

Cybersecurity photovoltaic installations. Image: ra2 studio – Shutterstock.

The University of Arkansas (UoA) has announced that its engineering researchers are currently developing digital defenses for solar power systems.

After receiving $3.6 million in funding from the U.S. Office of Solar Energy Technologies, Alan Mantooth, professor and director of the electrical engineering college, will lead a team from multiple institutions in their efforts to protect technologies. solar connected to the cyberattacks network.

As US energy policy shifts to more diverse sources, particularly solar, the Department of Energy understands the critical importance of protecting these systems and technologies.

Alan Mantooth.

We are already developing systems to protect the power grid from cyber attacks, and this work will be a logical extension of that effort.

Alan Mantooth.

Protect a valuable source of energy.

Although it has been slower to gain momentum than other regions, such as Europe, solar power in the US is gaining traction and research from the University of Arkansas will be critical to ensure it is deployed more safely.

The main dangers for solar PVs (photovoltaic panels) connected to a power grid are ” inverters “, a type of electrical converter that converts the panel’s DC output into an easy-to-use AC output.

They are the heart of photovoltaic systems. Inverters are one of the main connected devices and therefore if a hacker could take control; Inverters would be a primary target because they are accessible and because they perform many smart functions to maintain stability and efficiency.

Alan Mantooth.

By hacking inverters from photovoltaic systems, they could cut the grid, overcharge the batteries, or destabilize the grid.

The project spearheaded by Mantooth will include other US institutions and companies, including the University of Georgia, the University of Illinois and the Ozarks Electric Cooperative.

In addition to increasing the protection of solar PV, the team hopes to improve supply chain security issues, develop real-time threat detection, and identify weak spots in digital defense.

More information: news.uark.edu

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