Australia has experienced a rapid uptake of residential solar PV systems across the country. Australia is currently the leading market in the developed world in residential rooftop solar and, in recent years, there has been strong growth toward the installation of commercial and industrial-scale PV systems.
This rapid uptake of solar PV has caused problems on the low voltage residential electricity network. The main problem being experienced is worsening voltage regulation. The solar PV systems generating at their maximum during the middle of the day, when residential consumption is typically low, causes voltage rises on the low voltage networks causing solar inverters to trip, diminishing reliability, reducing appliance lifetime and reducing appliance efficiency.
EcoVAR is a Static Compensator (STATCOM) that helps solve these voltage problems. Its control algorithms automatically adjust the current to reduce high network voltages and increase low network voltages. By doing this the EcoVAR reduces the total voltage variation or swing on the electricity network and keeps the voltage supplied to the consumer within acceptable limits.
Some product advantages:
- STATCOMs are a relatively simple and effective solution to voltage problems for electrical utilities.
- The single phase EcoVAR is rated at 10kVAr and is smaller and lighter than most competitors 5kVAr units.
- A three phase 30kVAr configuration is possible.
- It does not have fans, a major cause of poor reliability, made possible by it’s world leading efficiency of around 98.5%.
- It is highly flexible with a sand boxed built in scripting language that allows “Power Users” to write programs to customise the behaviour of the product.
- The EcoVAR supports common utility SCADA protocols such as Modbus and DNP3.
- It is user friendly with set-up and configuration via any device running a web browser.
There has been a large uptake of rooftop residential solar systems in many parts of the world including Australia. This high uptake has caused some problems for electrical utilities. One of these problems is that solar systems have caused an increase in the voltage variation or swing that occurs on low voltage networks. During the middle of the day solar output is high and loads are low resulting in high voltages on the grid. However in the evening the peak loads and therefore minimum voltages remain the same. Thus the voltage swing has increased.
The EcoVAR STATCOM operates by sinking and sourcing reactive power. When the voltage is high (typically when solar output is high and loads are low) the EcoVAR STATCOM sinks inductive reactive power to reduce the grid voltage. When the voltage is low (typically during peak load periods) the EcoVAR STATCOM sources capacitive reactive power to boost the grid voltage. Thus the LV network voltage profile is flattened and the voltage swing (or variation) is reduced.
The EcoVAR has two main applications:
- It can be used to solve voltage issues on the low voltage network as explained above.
- It can be used to help optimise the voltage delivered to consumers through a process known as Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR). CVR can deliver multiple benefits to consumers and society including reduction of energy consumption, bills and greenhouse gas emissions, improved ability of the grid to accept renewable energy and improved appliance lifetime. It is explained in detail in the attached White Paper delivered to the Engineers Australia 2021 Climate Smart Engineering Conference. Alternatively, please view our attached Technical Presentation, which was presented at the same conference.
- Configurable steady state Droop Curve with controlled dynamic response results in stable performance and eliminates unwanted interactions with other devices.
- Low harmonics and EMC made possible by a high effective output switching frequency.
- Cutting Edge Low Loss design achieves 98.5% efficiency.
- User scripting allows customisation of the device.
- Rich datalogging capability with 4GB on-board storage.
- Communications support standard utility protocols (Modbus, DNP3).
- Simple installation and mounting arrangement.
Compact & Light
Our software is designed with user friendliness in mind. Set-up, commissioning, monitoring, software updates and custom programming are all done from any browser ready smart device (eg. laptop, tablet, smart phone) not some propriety hard to learn tool. Everything is done from the same familiar web browser interface. Parameters and settings are in plain English not obscure codes. Values and variables can be graphed in real time and a rich history can be downloaded.