SOCOMEC: a key player in the development of tomorrow's smart electrical grids
October 2015 Socomec is key stakeholder driving the first smart solar-energy district demonstration project – "Nice Grid" - in France. Managed by the Grid4EU association, this project will develop a smart electricity grid to seamlessly integrate a high proportion of solar panels, energy storage batteries and intelligent power meters installed in domestic dwellings in the municipality of Carros, near the French Riviera.
Managed by the Grid4EU association, this project will develop a smart electricity grid to seamlessly integrate a high proportion of solar panels, energy storage batteries and intelligent power meters installed in domestic dwellings in the municipality of Carros, near the French Riviera.
This innovative project is part of the European energy transition initiative that aims to be producing more than 20% of electrical energy via renewable energy sources by 2020.
With over 45 years' expertise in energy conversion and its experience in electrical distribution and photovoltaic technology, Socomec plays a vital role in Nice Grid which will act as a technology showcase and pilot site for smart and environmentally sustainable grid operation and management.
Energy storage: a challenge for the future
With the gradual depletion of fossil fuels and the increasing emphasis on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a key challenge facing the world today is the large scale integration of renewable energy sources into electrical grids - especially low voltage networks. These energy sources, however, are inherently unpredictable. The solution is a range of intelligent systems able to store the energy that is produced in such an intermittent and decentralized way and to control its distribution according to highly fluctuating customer demand. The ‘Smart Grid' is one such solution.
Bi-directional energy converters
Socomec is extending its product offering for public distribution (including TIPI switchboards, DIRIS A measuring devices, auxiliary units, SIRCO switch disconnectors.) with a new range of energy storage devices, the SUNSYS PCS2. With output from 33 to 100 kW, the SUNSYS PCS2 is ideal for low voltage networks. The energy storage converters have a dual function: energy conversion and storage. Installed within close proximity to the PV power system, they firstly convert the PV energy available during the day and store it in cyclic batteries. On demand, the stored energy can then be converted back into useable AC current and injected into the grid.
These ‘bi-directional' storage converters also offer a feature whereby they can be programmed to operate according to a charging and discharging profile set in advance by the energy utility provider
Controlling the production of renewable energy
This latest technology draws onthe expertise that Socomec has developed in energy conversion during the last half century, particularly in the PV field.
The innovation comprises the control of the low voltage network that is subject to the constant fluctuations in PV energy production, resulting in voltage variations. This control is provided by the energy storage converters via the use of specific control algorithms. The converters are managed at district level via power management systems in order to constantly optimize the electrical supply.
A manufacturer's expertise
Energy storage is an essential link in tomorrow's smart electrical grids. By participating in this critical project, Socomec is reinforcing its position as a specialist in the availability, control and security of low voltage electrical networks.
Armand Adande, Socomec Director of North American Operations comments; "We are delighted to be part of such an exciting and important project that will lay the foundations for critical changes to the way that we store and use energy in the future."