Wednesday 30 June 2010

Fulfilling low-cost solar needs

Carlo Gavazzi adds Eos-Array Lite option to configurable PV-controller technology, boosting performance, efficiency and ROI from smaller installations

Carlo Gavazzi has extended its modular control and management solution for solar-power installations by introducing Eos-Array Lite, offering increased modularity for cost-sensitive applications from 10kWp upwards and providing localised diagnostics supporting rapid repair of power faults.

Building on the principles of the Eos-Array modular control system introduced in 2009, Carlo Gavazzi’s new Eos-Array Lite comprises the dedicated VMU-ML master unit featuring focused control capabilities and up to 15 modules providing string-control, measurement and I/O functions. The Eos-Array Lite string-control module, VMU-S0, provides a cost-optimised feature set monitoring voltage and current to pinpoint the location of any power faults. This can help maintenance teams identify the causes of faults quickly, to minimise the cost of repairs and increase uptime, thereby maximising return on investment for solar generating capacity. The VMU-S0 unit is capable of direct DC measurements up to 16A and 1000V.

Complementing these modules, the VMU-P environmental measuring unit provides one temperature input and one irradiation input for monitoring the status of the photovoltaic (PV) cell array. The VMU-O local output unit provides one relay output allowing the VMU-ML controller to manage a device such as a local alarm.

“Eos-Array Lite enhances choice for customers seeking to overcome the drawbacks of traditional PV controllers, which typically impose large space requirements, limit flexibility, and bring complex installation and wiring challenges,” said Alan Hickman, Managing Director, Carlo Gavazzi. "As a lower-cost option providing all the modularity and many of the features of Eos-Array, Eos-Array Lite will increase the accessibility of Carlo Gavazzi’s technology enhancing the value of solar power to operators and end users.”

When assembled to create a local control system for PV plant, the modules provide timely and accurate alerts to system faults such as defective PV modules, incorrect connections, or failure of the inverter. This contrasts with competing systems, which are typically only able to monitor the inverter. Operators also benefit from simplified installation, since there is no need for power supply or bus wiring among modules. In addition, industry-standard RS-485 Modbus communications simplify integration into the customer’s PV management system.

This modular control system enables a space-optimised solution for any PV installation, and can comprise from two to 16 single-DIN modules, up to a maximum width of 280mm. The system is supported by Eos-ArrayLSoft software, which is designed specifically for use with Eos-Array Lite to facilitate configuration of modules during plant commissioning as well as read-back of data in normal operation.

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