To reduce carbon emission, renewable energy has become one of the most discussed subjects regarding utilities. Among these, solar energy is the most anticipated source of renewable energy. In fact, many countries have already implemented solar PV plants in communities, commercial areas and industrial zones.
However, solar energy is expensive when comparing it to the conventional ways of generating power. This results in higher overheads and thus the cost has been the major concern in the global energy market. Since costs are highly concerned, businesses are looking for ways to evaluate their return on investments and how efficient and valuable their assets can be. One of the most practical ways is to adopt a monitoring system by the solar PV plants to monitor the data for performance measurement.
The Need for Monitoring and Control
At commercial level, it is highly crucial to determine the actual performance of the solar PV monitoring system so that investors or owners can analyze the values of their invested implementations. Thus, an effective monitoring system requires consistent, reliable and traceable data monitoring capability in order to optimize the return on investment during the lifetime of the system. There are technological and systematic requirements to fulfill the capability.
The required monitoring system will function as the controller of the PV plant and will be independent from the inverters. The system will collect and control information including voltage, inverter status, weather conditions, and power setting. Therefore, reliable data processing capability is required in order to acquire precise data which acts as feedbacks to owners and investors alike.
Protected Ethernet and COM Connectivity
Since Ethernet is the main protocol for data transfer within the network, the Ethernet ports must be protected when the system is deployed in potentially demanding environments. Protections are also required for serial COM ports as they are the main field bus for inverters and weather condition reporting devices.
Compact Form Factor
With cost and space efficiency concerns, compact size and small form factor are preferred options for investments.
Solar PV plants are sometimes implemented in demanding environments so that the system must be able to operate under wide range of operating temperature.
Lanner’s Hardware Solution
To meet the technological requirements above, Lanner introduces LEC-3030 as the commercial solar PV monitoring hardware solution. LEC-3030 is the ideal gateway control system and data control and monitoring in such applications due to its data processing ability, compact size and protected LAN and COM connectivity.
As an effective solar PV monitoring system, LEC-3030 performs reliably in data collections. With the architecture of Intel Celeron N2807 dual-core SoC CPU and 4GB DDR3L SO-DIMM data memory, LEC-3030 can execute data logging and control of current, inverter data, weather information, and other parameters. The collected information will serve as important feedbacks or references to system owners/investors.
LEC-3030 can provide reliable data exchange through its protected protocols. The Ethernet LAN ports of LEC-3030 are protected by 1.5KV magnetic isolation protection to ensure solid data transfer in demanding environments. The serial COM ports of LEC-3030 are also protected. Since COM ports are important field bus with other grid-peripherals such as inverters and meteorological devices, the COM ports are protected by 2KV digital isolation and 15KV ESD protections to ensure the communications with other devices.
Another important aspect is that LEC-3030 comes in a highly compact form factor. With the growing emphasis in space and performance balance due to concerns about cost, LEC-3030 is the optimal choice in commercial solar PV monitoring applications. Since solar plants are usually exposed to high amount of sunlight and perhaps extreme temperature, LEC-3030T is built with wide temperature at the range of -40 ~70ºC.