How Technology Helps Increase the Stability of Solar Power Plants
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How Technology Helps Increase the Stability of Solar Power Plants

Laura Davis, Energy CIO Insights | Monday, December 28, 2020

The new robust technology increases the stability and lifecycle of the solar PV systems.

FREMONT, CA: Solar PV is a safe and robust technology that only increases its life expectancy with advancements in modules. Although PV modules typically receive the most publicity in the solar industry, several technologies and services are critical to any PV installation's success. Most of them fall under the EPC framework, such as engineering, procurement, and construction, including end-to-end solar services, system design, and component procurement to project installation.

Here are some of the main elements of the EPC, such as inverters, trackers, junction boxes, and technology for monitoring. These technologies guarantee the long-term stability and reliability of solar installations. They can probably wind up saving developers considerable resources over the solar PV system's lifecycle if sufficient attention is paid to them.

Inverters: the heart of PV plants

In all solar PV systems, inverters and their related technologies are the central components. Inverters guarantee that the PV array's power can be incorporated into the grid downstream, utilized by connected AC customers, or temporarily stored together with storage systems. It performs significant safety functions upstream, like detection of earth faults, arc detection, and anti-islanding. While PV's share of the energy mix continues to grow, inverters must perform more functions, including those relevant to grid stabilization. As grids become smarter, more grid-related services should also be taken over by inverters. A growing number of PV power plants will be paired with energy storage systems to support these services at all times. Therefore, the inverter can be defined as the heart of any PV power plant, so its breakdown results in severe issues with the larger elements of the project.

Topology

Three different principles generally follow the topology of a PV power plant, which are large parts of the plant can be controlled by a central inverter, the inverter could be utilized at the string level, mixing single or multiple strings, and it can be regulated at the module level through the use of the power electronics module level (MLPE). In terms of ease of maintenance and plant availability, it should be remembered that central inverters are easy to maintain and can be repaired on-site in the best-case scenario, thus providing a high overall life of 20 years or more. However, significant portions of the power plant are isolated from the feed-in in the event of a crisis. Typically, both MLPEs and string inverters cannot be fixed on-site and should not be affected until environmental influences have been removed. Only smaller machine parts or even only one PV module are affected in the event of their failure.

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