T&D World Magazine

MicroPlanet Provides Smart Voltage Regulation for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

MicroPlanet Technology Corp. has reached agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory to provide voltage regulation technology services for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 to be held in Washington, D.C., in September and October 2011.

The Solar Decathlon challenges 20 teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

"The integration of distributed and renewable electricity generation sources is becoming more prevalent and a challenge for the grid," said NREL's Byron Stafford, Solar Decathlon Site Operations Manager. "The Solar Decathlon is a concentrated microcosm of what occurs in the real world as distributed and renewable generation sources cause increases in line voltage. As we experienced during Solar Decathlon 2009, line voltage rise causes inverters to trip, stopping electricity from being passed back into the grid from the renewable sources. We are pleased to find the MicroPlanet technology with the capabilities and features to efficiently, precisely, and bi-directionally regulate voltage," Stafford continued.

MicroPlanet believes that smart voltage regulation (SVR) should be a key initial component in the integration of distributed generation technologies. First, the economic benefits of SVR itself in most cases exceed those of renewable generation. Second, they significantly and dramatically improve the power quality and stability. Third, they enhance renewable generation by managing the flow of electricity back to the grid preventing significant feeder line problems for the utility, and also maximizing generation revenue by optimizing voltage levels and ensuring generation uptime.

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