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Subject How can I be sure that these small-scale generating systems are safe?
Author Sascha Deri
How can I be sure that these small-scale generating systems are safe?

During the last decade there has been tremendous technological progress in the design of the equipment that integrates small-scale generators with the utility grid. Called ‘inverters’ because they were originally designed only to ‘invert’ the DC electricity produced by solar arrays and wind turbines to the AC electricity used in our homes and businesses, these devices have evolved into extremely sophisticated power management systems. Inverters now include all the necessary protective functions needed to synchronize safely and reliably with the utility grid, to protect utility power quality, and to prevent ‘islanding’ by preventing backfeeding during a utility power outage. Moreover, this protective equipment operates automatically, without any human intervention needed. Most new inverters comply with all nationally-recognized codes and standards, including those developed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL 1741) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE 929-2000). These systems are now operating safely and reliably in every state in the nation.

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