Smart Grids pilot project - Fronius contributes to safe grid operation

In Eberstalzell in beautiful Upper Austria, a demonstration Smart Grid system will be set up along with the largest photovoltaic (PV) research power plant in Austria. Because the use of renewable energy carriers is growing day-by-day, Fronius wants to be well-equipped for what the future holds.

In this regard, safe grid operation and maximum power supply reliability must be guaranteed. Fronius inverters support these goals.

By the end of 2015, 6000 new solar power stations are expected to go online in Austria every year. Power grids must be upgraded in order to meet such strong demand, requiring powerful and intelligent grids. The pilot project in Eberstalzell is examining a control concept for an active low-voltage grid. A selected grid section containing approximately 70 photovotaic systems is being used as a testing ground. A Fronius IG Plus V inverter is installed in each of these PV systems and contributes to safe operation of the grid.

"In this test grid we will have the ability to control integrated devices. Control functions available in the inverter can be directly changed and optimized from a superordinate grid control system. This turns a low-voltage grid into a Smart Grid," explains Dr. Martin Heidl from Fronius System Technology. The goal is to feed more remotely-generated current than would be possible without the Smart Grid measures, without losing output.

Reactive power control provided by the Fronius inverter ensures that grid voltage remains within desired limits. Direct communication with the Smart Grid permits operators to remotely influence the advanced control algorithms in the Fronius inverter. The Smart Grid controller manages the adjustable transformer as well as the inverter using data from the Smart Meters. This controller helps optimize the entire grid with regards to voltage stability and maximum feed-in while minimizing losses.

This research project is being conducted under the direction of AIT (Austrian Institute of Technology) together with Energie AG Oberösterreich Netz GmbH, Siemens AG Austria, Linz Strom Netz GmbH, Salzburg Netz GmbH and BEWAG Netz GmbH. Installation will begin in early 2012. The entire project will run for three years.

There is another positive report from the PV research power station in Eberstalzell. 18 Fronius CL central inverters have been operating there for a year now with a remarkably sunny performance: *Power yields are ten percent over the already optimistic forecast of solar experts. The 1,000,000th kilowatt hour was fed into the Energie AG grid on April 16.

* Source: Energie AG Oberösterreich news release from May 6, 2011.

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