Solar Power Generation and Monitoring
Solar electric energy demand has grown by an average 30% per annum over the past 20 years against a backdrop of rapidly declining costs and prices. This decline in cost has been driven by economies of manufacturing scale, manufacturing technology improvements, and the increasing efficiency of solar cells.
In 2009, the photovoltaic solar industry generated $38.5 billion in revenues globally, which includes the sale of solar modules and associated equipment, and the installation of solar systems. Many expert observers see growth in the world PV market to up to $100 billion by 2014 with various forecast scenarios depending on the variable factors.
Systems to run and monitor PV installations of all kinds are in continuous and rapid development and wireless technology is increasingly important in providing a simple and robust solution to data gathering locally – especially where monitoring of PV panel and inverter performance is needed.
Benefits Of Wireless Mesh Networking
Ease of installation:: There is no need to run control wires. Wireless mesh networking was designed to handle many of the network formation tasks. Automated commissioning techniques can make it even quicker and easier to get the network up and running once it has formed.
Scalability and Reliability: Solar networks can be very small scaling to very large networks. The nature of ZigBee allows for networks to be adjustable and cater for almost any size.
Reduced Maintenance:: The mesh networking capabilities allows the network to automatically detect and troubleshoot problems that occur.
- Micro Invertors
ZigBee technology has already made significant inroads into this growing market space and Telegesis has a number of customers in the solar generation industry.
Market leaders such as Enecsys and Petra Solar have both selected Telegesis ZigBee radio modules to provide their LAN technology platforms.
Enecsys develops manufacturers, and markets world-leading, highly reliable, grid-connected solar micro inverters and monitoring systems for residential and commercial photovoltaic systems that offer an outstanding value proposition. The micro inverter maximizes energy harvest and converts the DC power for supply to the electricity grid. The advantages of Enecsys solar micro inverter include: maximized energy harvest, improved safety, increased lifetime and reliability, enhanced performance monitoring, and simplified PV array design and installation. The monitoring system tracks, in real-time, the performance of each solar module and transmits the information through a robust built-in ZigBee wireless communicator systems that connects to the internet.
Advanced solar PV systems using Enecsys micro inverters
The Enecsys solar micro inverter solution elegantly and cost effectively solves many of the issues of using string or central inverters.
The Enecsys micro inverter is a compact unit, installed at the back of each solar module. It converts DC to AC power for connection to the electricity grid without the need for a string or central inverter. The AC output from the Enecsys micro inverter is synchronized and in-phase with the electricity grid. The Enecsys micro inverter solution has a number of distinct advantages:
Optimal energy harvest – maximizes the power harvested from each solar module and therefore the entire PV array. This is accomplished by performing Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT), an electronic technique for maximizing the power harvested from each module under varying environmental conditions, and performance monitoring for each individual solar module. Performing MPPT on each solar module ensures maximum harvest of energy even under partially shaded conditions. Degradation in the performance of any one module, due to module mismatch, shadows from trees or chimneys, or obstructions from leaves or debris, does not degrade the performance of other modules and therefore has minimal impact on the power harvested from the PV array. This typically results in improved power harvest of 5% to 20% from the solar PV system and represents a significant cost/performance advantage.