The emerging smart grid is essentially an intelligent and digital electricity network and is being used to define the next generation of distribution networks for electricity. Using their home networks, consumers will be able to communicate with the smart grid, through their electricity meters, offering smarter power management for utility companies and consumers alike.
Within the smart grid, there are three major market sections – grid infrastructure (i.e., concentrators), utility meters, and home/building management – each with varying application requirements.
Micro-inverters used in harvesting energy from solar and other alternative energy sources use power line modems to communicate to the smart grid. Below is a block diagram of an up-to-date solar harvesting system.
New standards were developed to meet the market requirements, like:
• S-FSK modulation up to 2.4 Kbit/s bit rate, IEC 61334-5-1 protocol
• The Meters & More specification. B- FSK and multi-mode n-PSK modulations
• Very robust OFDM modulation PRIME protocol. PRIME (PoweRline Intelligent Metering Evolution) is a Physical and Mac layer standard definition based on up-to-date technologies, in order to guarantee that future market requirements are met and that utilities’ investments are future proof. PRIME is open, looking for different vendors’ equipment interoperability, as a way to push for the growth of a new market so that, at the end of the day, all players (utilities, industry, customers, etc) will benefit from this approach. PRIME is based on OFDM multiplexing in CENELEC-A band.
Smart grids are intelligent networks for the distribution of energy. Home automation, smart metering and renewable sources are among the key building blocks for smart grids that we are addressing. Smart meters provide detailed information and real-time data to enable consumers to manage the power consumption in their homes, encouraging them to run washing machines in low usage times, for instance. Smart grids are the emerging intelligent networks for the distribution of energy.
Home automation, smart metering and renewable sources are among the key building blocks for the smart Grids.