This is one inverter line that loves learning new tricks. Now all Sunny Tripower TL-US inverters are able to provide full or dynamic reactive power with the latest version of the inverter’s firmware (2.80.00.R).
As decentralized commercial and utility-scale systems continue to grow, the demands placed on inverters increasingly mean they must be good grid participants, supporting grid stability in numerous ways outside of traditional plant operation. This latest Sunny Tripower software, available for download here for commissioned inverters and shipping now on all new models, enables SMA’s Q at Night feature to provide reactive power to the grid outside of feed-in operation for increased grid stability and continued value to system owners during non-production hours.
Proactive with reactive power
Power producers, especially those operating large plants, must take part in compensating for reactive power. Maintaining a stable electrical grid is a responsibility not often associated with renewable energy sources, previously those operators had to construct costly compensation plants to provide either fixed or dynamic reactive power.
These types of ancillary services added substantial costs to plants requiring them, as most solar inverters can only offer reactive power capabilities during daytime feed-in. With Q at Night, the Sunny Tripower now has the same fixed and dynamic reactive power controls as its larger cousins, the Sunny Central CP XT models, for three-phase commercial and distributed ground-mount systems alike.
Value after sunset
When most solar systems turn off at night, Q at Night will keep the Sunny Tripower awake to ensure grid voltage doesn’t step out of phase when it’s not looking. In addition to avoiding the need for compensation plants, the use of Q at Night with the Sunny Tripower also avoids potential utility rate charges for reactive power compensation, increasing system value and profitability by having the hard-working Sunny Tripower handle more responsibilities.
Given the complex demands for reactive power at each site, Sunny Tripower inverters using SMA’s Cluster Controller can be custom programmed to provide exactly the level of reactive power that’s needed. Each inverter is capable of feeding its nameplate value in leading or lagging reactive power should the need arise, creating the optimal environment for commercial and utility-scale solar systems to be good grid participants and paving the way for solar power’s growth in our ever-changing energy landscape.
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