You have most likely heard about grid synchronization. However, how much do you know about this highly recommended and widely embraced concept?
For instance, how does a solar inverter synchronize with the grid? Why do many people consider doing it?
These are crucial answers if you contemplate synchronizing your solar system with the grid. After all, they will help you decide whether it is a process worth your thoughts, time and resources.
Fortunately, this piece has all the answers you seek. Check it out!
About Grid Synchronization?
Before tackling the how we will look at the what. What does it mean when someone uses the term grid synchronization?
First, it is a process to integrate the existing grid conditions with a renewable energy system’s output. Its role is to avail consumers with a consistent and stable power supply.
One of the most necessary equipment in such a setup is the grid-tie inverter. Its role is to convert the direct current (DC) from the solar system into an alternating current (AC).
Equally important, your solar inverter will feed excess power to the grid. That’s where grid synchronization comes in, as the output voltage and frequency of the inverter must match that of the grid it feeds.
The solar system’s power fluctuates due to various factors, including weather. If the energy increases, the output will output more and inject the excess into the main grid.
Major Components of Grid Synchronization
Two things significantly come into play when the grid synchronizes your solar system. They are as follows;
It is also known as the electric grid or the power grid. It is a collection of wires and machinery responsible for generating and supplying home electricity.
The grid has two main components for generating and transmitting power, respectively. Each category has its role and equipment to help it achieve its goal.
For instance, the generation part of the grid involves solar panels, hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, nuclear power plants, gas turbines and coal plants. On the other hand, the wires, transformers and substations are responsible for the transmission.
The components are meant to ensure that the generated power reaches the homes. The process involves carrying electrons from power-generating plants to homes for use.
A solar inverter is a device that converts DC to AC. Did you know that the solar system produces DC?
On the other hand, the grid uses AC, which explains why the solar inverter is a crucial component of grid synchronization. It ensures that the solar power turns into AC to match what the power grid uses.
The Importance of Grid Synchronization
If you install a solar panel, why should you consider synchronizing it to the power grid? Well, it narrows down to diversity.
Your home gets two power sources after synchronizing your solar inverter to the grid. One is the solar system, and the other is the electric grid.
The purpose of the synchronization is due to the instability of solar power generation. It is bound to make a lot of energy when the sun shines brightly but stop any generation once it sets.
Grid synchronization comes in handy when your solar system doesn’t produce enough energy to power your appliances and gadgets adequately. It means your home can draw power from the main grid to run these appliances efficiently under such conditions.
On the other hand, grid synchronization is also an effective way of preventing energy loss. After all, there are times when the solar system will produce more power than your household needs.
If that happens, the solar inverter feeds excess solar energy to the power grid. People can use it in their households, meaning no power will go to waste.
Remember that your contribution won’t go unrewarded. Whenever you are drawing power from the grid, your meter reading increases.
However, the reading starts reducing when your solar system starts feeding the grid. Isn’t that fair enough, given that grid synchronization could cut your utility bill significantly?
How Does a Solar Inverter Synchronize with the Grid?
How a solar inverter carries out grid synchronization depends on its working mechanism. Various inverters work differently, and there are different grid synchronization methods.
Without much ado, let’s discuss the different types of grid synchronization.
Synchroscope Grid Synchronization Method
The main equipment in this synchronization method is the synchroscope. It is responsible for comparing the two alternators’ voltages, and it is worth noting that the pair runs parallel.
The findings of that comparison determine the cause of action. For instance, if the two alternators register the same voltage, the pair is said to be in phase, which means it can run synchronously.
On the other hand, two different voltages from the two alternators indicate that the duo is out of phase. Under such circumstances, don’t expect the alternators to run synchronously.
Consequently, some adjustments are necessary to fix the situation at hand. If the inverter outlet shows high voltage, it shuts down as a protective measure because of safety concerns.
Two Bright, One Dark Grid Synchronization Method
The working mechanism of this synchronization method is similar to that of its synchroscope method. It also involves two alternators that run parallel.
The pair can only run synchronously if these alternators have the same voltage since that’s when they are in phase. Failure to record the same voltage means an adjustment is necessary, or they will remain out of phase, thus making running synchronously impossible.
Three Dark Lamps Grid Synchronization Method
On the other hand, this grid synchronization method involves three alternators. These three are also running parallel.
At any one point, the alternators must also register the same voltages to run synchronously since they can only be in phase. Out of the three, the one with a different voltage will be adjusted.
The other two with the same voltages are in phase and thus run synchronously. Consequently, an adjustment is unnecessary.
All the 3 synchronization methods are undeniably similar. Besides the components, the concept is the same since they compare voltages and adjust them accordingly to ensure the parallel alternators have the same voltage.