Monday, February 27, 2012

Volt/VAr Optimization

This video is about ABB's Volt-VAr Management System (VVMS). The idea behind this system is to lower the load on the grid by adjusting voltage down to a minimum value. The following equation shows the relationship between power, voltage and current. The equation shows that when you lower voltage you also lower power.

Power = Current x Voltage

Voltage management is a great idea but I'm not sure ABB's product is the most cost-effective solution. The bigboys have made the argument that small PV systems cannot be cost effectively equipped with voltage management capabilities. Apparently, SMA didn't get the memo. My question is, why rent voltage control from the utility when it's cheaper to own it yourself?


Here's a price quote for a 12 kW PV system. With favorable financing conditions this 1502 Euro/kW system generates power for a tad under 10 ct/kWh.


It will be interesting to see if field arrays survive the coming round of FiT cuts. On one hand I'm rooting against solar farms because I don't think this solution is elegant or sustainable. On the other I'm rooting for them because it would be awesome if PV farmers could make money in cloudy Germany with a 13.5 ct/kWh feed in tariff. It would also be a hoot to watch the industry try to cover up the temper tantrum they're currently throwing over these new FiT rules. Holy cry me a river of wolves batman! But I must admit, I do enjoy good propaganda.

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