Distributed energy resource (DER) systems are small, modular decentralised energy systems located near where energy is used, either off or on the mains grid. Such systems have numerous potential advantages over conventional large electricity plants that may transport electricity long distances. DERs are able to manage supply and demand more locally and precisely, leading to greater security of supply at lower cost. In addition, they tend to have less environmental impact. DERs can include solar panels, small wind turbines, hydroelectric power and the use of biomass. A European consortium established a Network of Excellence (NoE) to promote the use of renewable energy sources (RESs) and DERs with EU funding of the 'Network of DER laboratories and pre-standardisation' (DER-LAB) project. Scientists sought to develop standardised requirements, quality criteria, testing and certification procedures for the connection and operation of DERs. Absence of such standardisation on a European and international level hinders EU global market penetration. The consortium successfully established the European Distributed Energy Resources Laboratories (DERlab) as a legal body consisting of 21 members. DERlab also established links to many other players in the DER field worldwide. Results from joint research activities have been published as numerous DER-LAB technical reports covering the variety of topics elucidated above. DER systems are a promising way to improve power quality and reliability while reducing cost. DER-LAB results regarding standardisation of various procedures and processes associated with DER usage should advance both the EU’s position on the international stage as well as the widespread adoption of DER systems throughout the EU.