Information Monitors has worked extensively with utility companies, government, and
industry to develop design
specifications to monitor the performance and health of disrtributed
power generation systems. Some of our current projects include hybrid systems,
standalone and grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) systems, and photovoltaic
Hybrid systems incorporate multiple energy sources. In addition
to PV, they may use a diesel generator or wind turbines
to provide power for lighting, refrigeration, or communications
in remote areas. We are currently studying a PV-diesel hybrid power system
with integrated supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA).
Diesel engine generator and controls for PV hybrid system
Telecommunications using new satellite constellations operating at high
frequency allows for wireless control and monitoring
of the performance and health of remote systems at affordable costs.
Standalone systems produce power independently of the utility grid;
hence, they stand alone. The simplest type of standalone
PV system is a direct-coupled system, where the DC output
of the module or array is connected directly to a DC load.
The direct-coupled system has no electrical energy storage
(batteries), so the load operates only during sunlight
However, most systems rely on batteries to store
electricity for use at night or during cloudy periods.
A charge controller may be added for battery protection,
and an inverter to run AC loads. Standalone systems
comprise the majority of photovoltaic installations in
remote regions of the world because they are often the
most cost-effective choice for applications far
from the utility grid.
Grid-connected systems, which can draw electricity from and feed electricity
back to the grid, must incorporate a number of design
considerations different from those included in standalone
systems. We test and evaluate grid-connected systems
to address major interconnection issues such as equipment
protection, power quality, and personal safety.
In typical PV lighting systems, the light source is powered by a battery,
which is recharged during the day by the PV array. Electronic controls are
used between the battery, light source and PV array to protect the battery
from overcharge and overdischarge, and to control the timing and operation
of the light.