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If you look at a solar array with panels on a rooftop where some may be shaded during part of the day, if you have a micro-inverter at each panel, then the ones that are shaded do not cause you to lose power from the ones that are not. The normal method for connecting panels in an array would be to have strings in series to boost the voltage. If one panel in a string is in shade then you lose output from the whole string. So in that case I can see that use of micro-inverters would improve the efficiency of the system.
I agree that Smart Grid is a buzz word but there is some meaning behind it. The power companies are having to change the way they operate to accommodate small localized energy generation instead of large centralized generators. In order to do this, they need to add intelligence and communications to their systems to balance generation with load without waste. So if your micro-inverter can tell the power company that it is delivering power then they can choose to turn down the output of another generator. They can figure it out without communication but it takes a while and power is wasted until the system is back in balance.
Just one question: How is it that micro-inverters are "supposedly" more efficient then the big ones?
Normally the opposite is true...
I understand that having a mini power plant that pumps energy locally and therefore relives the power lines may be a good concept but that does not make the micro-inverter more efficient.
And to all smart grid enthusiasts: Why should my micro-inverter be connected to the data network? I tried to ask many people and there seem no answer except for the billing issues.
For me Smart Grid is still a buzz word with no meaning....
from an indian perspective and on a practical side i find that its much more cheaper and less cumbersome to use the mobile network which is now covering almost the entire country. with technologies like PLCC, even the basic elements of transmission like the transformers pose a big hurdle and ofcourse i need not point out the huge amount of noise introduced into the grid/transmission lines by things like unbalanced loads, sparking switches, bad contacts and hundreds of other factors which are common throughout the country. any system using such lines for communication will be fighting an uphill battle.on the other hand mobile networks have matured considerably to an extent that SIM card based control kits are found at dirt cheap rates today. also the competition in the mobile sector has ensured that the operator cost for such applications is next to zero.
In India, the power revolution can't happen if the Government is not serious and the awareness is created on a massive level (so that right people are chosen to run the Government). Where the majority of the population in India is struggling to get their basic rights from the Government, I can't see a hope that the people of India getting benefitted by these initiatives. I might sound too pessimistic, but I think this is the fact.
A very good and informative article. But for a country like India where even the simple metering of the power is fraught with many problems and with blatant theft of the power by the roadside industry, huts which just bypass the meters even in the urban cities like Delhi and Mumbai , such smart concepts are difficult to implement.
A way to implement smart grid without using the power line itself for communications is to use internet for all the grid related communications. If all the power generating and consuming devices are internet enabled then such two way communications is possible without installing additional infrastructure for power line communications
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.