Smart grid research project utilizes Fronius inverters

The photovoltaic (PV) research power station in Eberstalzell, Austria, is now the site of a smart grid demonstration system. The project aims to prepare electricity grids for the increased use of renewable energy sources, particularly stable grid operation and maximum supply reliability.

October 31, 2011 — The photovoltaic (PV) research power station in Eberstalzell, Austria, is now the site of a smart grid demonstration system. The project aims to prepare electricity grids for the increased use of renewable energy sources, particularly stable grid operation and maximum supply reliability. About 6000 new solar power systems will go on-line in Austria each year by 2015.

The pilot project in Eberstalzell is a control concept for an active low-voltage grid. A specific grid segment that will contain around 70 photovoltaic systems is to be used as a test array. Fronius inverters support these objectives. A Fronius IG Plus V inverter will be installed in each of these PV systems to provide stable grid operation.

Figure 1. Schematic of DG DemoNet Smart LV Grid project. SOURCE: Energie AG Upper Austria.

“This test grid will enable us to control the devices within it. Existing control functions in the inverter can be modified and optimized from a higher-level grid controller, transforming a low-voltage system into a Smart Grid,” explains Dr. Martin Heidl of Fronius System Technology.

The objective is to be able to feed in more de-centrally generated electricity, without any power losses, than would be possible were the Smart Grid measures not in place. The reactive power control provided by the Fronius inverter enables the grid voltage to be held within the required limits. Being able to communicate directly with the Smart Grid means that the control algorithms in the Fronius inverter can be modified remotely. The Smart Grid Controller uses data from the Smart Meter to control the transformer and the inverter, enabling the entire grid to be optimized in terms of voltage stability, maximum feed-in and low levels of loss.

Figure 2. The Smart Grid demonstration grid uses Fronius IG Plus series inverters exclusively. SOURCE: Fronius International GmbH.

The research project is being led by the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and carried out in conjunction with Energie AG Oberösterreich Netz GmbH, Siemens AG Austria, Linz Strom Netz GmbH, Salzburg Netz GmbH and BEWAG Netz GmbH. Installation will start in spring 2012 and the project as a whole is scheduled to run for three years.

Fronius International is active in the fields of battery charging systems, welding technology and solar electronics. Learn more at www.fronius.com.

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