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  • How is an off grid inverter different from a grid tied inverter?

    A grid-tied inverter takes DC power from solar panels, turns it into AC, and sends it into the grid for credit.Grid-tied inverters are simpler and easier to wire since there are usually only two main components—the inverter itself and your solar panels. (Some grid-tied systems are starting to incorporate energy storage, but most don’t have any batteries at all.)But an off-grid inverter needs a battery bank to function.Here’s how it works: your solar panels feed DC power into the batteries. Then your inverter takes that power and “inverts” it, creating AC power for your home. This works essentially like a miniature power grid.(In case you’re curious, no, your inverter won’t deplete your batteries provided your system is set up and designed right. The battery bank gets recharged by your solar panels and a charge controller, and by a backup generator in the winter months.)As you might imagine, off-grid systems are more complicated, thanks to additional components like the charge controller, battery monitor, and additional AC and DC circuit breakers. All of these things tend to make off-grid systems more difficult to wire and install.It can also be a challenge to buy off-grid equipment because there are a lot of associated accessories: remote controls, battery monitor, breakers and enclosures, surge suppressors, and so on.Picking the right parts can be confusing enough—but there’s no more critical decision than buying the right inverter.

  • The two main types of solar lights

    If you thought that solar lights come in one form and a couple of uses, you are not the only one. However, you should know that as technology evolved, solar lighting systems also evolved—with two main types.Solar lighting can be installed in different areas. From homes to parking lots, sensitive areas and remote locations where no grid infrastructure exists, it removes the costs of trenching and wiring which is why it is considered as the cheapest solution in numerous cases.The two main types of solar lights are:1. Outdoor solar lights2. Indoor solar lightsNow, the classification around solar LED lights can be branched out to even more types. Home lights, yard lights, street lights, solar-powered lights for parking lots and garden lights are just some of the examples.

  • Neoen plans to deploy 30MW/30MWh battery storage systems in Finland

    Neoen plans to deploy a 30MW/30MWh battery storage system in Finland to help the country integrate its growing wind power capacity, foreign media reported.Neoen has partnered with Tesla to deploy the Hornsdale Battery Energy Storage project in South Australia, which is currently the largest lithium ion battery energy storage project in the world with a capacity of 150MW/ 193.5MWH. Neoen is developing France's largest solar power project to date, with a 300MW installed capacity called Cestas.Finland plans to achieve national carbon neutrality by 2035. Neoen says the battery storage system will help facilitate grid integration with renewable energy projects, improve the reliability of power systems and reduce the cost of grid operations. Neoen business director Christoph Desplats-Redier says partners including Fingrid and the city of Lapiranta helped Neoen launch the project.This is probably the largest battery storage system in the Nordic country to date. Other grid-scale energy storage projects in Europe have been reported in the industry press, such as Vattenfall's plans to develop a pilot 1MWh lithium-ion energy storage system, which will be operational in Sweden this year. Saft announced in November 2019 that it has acquired a 21MW/ 6.6MWH battery energy storage project deployed by Finnish wind power developer and operator TuuliWatti; Fortum, another Finnish energy developer, said in 2018 that it would deploy a 6.2MWH battery storage system at its hydro power facility in Sweden.

  • Opportunities & Challenges for Li ion Batteries

    The demand among 5G base stations for energy storage batteries provides the entire energy storage industry an excellent opportunity for development.  At a recent CNESA salon on 5G, Zhang Xin of East Group Co. expressed that establishing a 5G network requires many changes to the energy system. Aside from peak shaving strategies, efforts must also be made to prepare for increased system stability requirements.  Whether using a UPS to keep important devices powered on, or supporting energy intensive equipment during peak periods, energy storage can help to increase stability and increase the quality of the power supply.  In remote areas where the supply of grid electricity can be unreliable, energy storage is also a valuable supporting tool.Of course, for the energy storage industry, 5G presents both challenges and opportunities. One example is battery safety.  As Li Gang of Svolt expressed, 5G telecom stations have an electricity use rate 2-3 times that of 4G stations, and backup power requirements at least double that of 4G. High quality-to-price ratio second-life batteries are an obvious choice as a backup power supply source for 5G stations, yet in recent years safety concerns regarding battery energy storage have become more apparent.  Second-life batteries must place safety as priority.  Narada Power Assistant Chief Engineer Li Bingwen expressed that the industry must emphasize the safety of 5G energy storage, noting that all safety issues will be preceded by indicators which the BMS must be able to detect and react to by immediately isolating any problematic batteries before the possibility of fires or thermal runaway.During the forum, China Mobile Communications Design Institute Co. Research Consulting Director Li Yusheng commented on the problems facing energy storage batteries, stating that four requirements must be met when designing power sources for 5G stations.  First, multiple energy sources should be used, thereby strengthening the ability to provide stable electricity. Second, intelligent operations and maintenance, thereby increasing operations efficiency.  Third, digitalization of power for high density and efficiency.  Fourth, “intelligentization” of batteries to derive maximum value from the full battery life cycle.  Guo Qiming of Sacred Sun Co. also provided suggestions for 5G power sources, stating that what is first needed is LiFePo batteries that are highly safe, have high specific energy, small size, light weight, long lifespan, and a “smart” design.  Second is the introduction of “blade power supplies” to save space and provide low-cost, reliable operations.

  • How Low can a Battery be Discharged?

    Not all battery energy can or should be used on discharge; some reserve is almost always left behind on purpose after the equipment cuts off. There are several reasons for this.Most mobile phones, laptops and other portable devices turn off when the lithium-ion battery reaches 3.00V/cell on discharge. At this point the battery has about 5 percent capacity left. Manufacturers choose this voltage threshold to preserve some energy for housekeeping, as well as to reduce battery stress and allow for some self-discharge if the battery is not immediately recharged. This grace period in empty state can last several months until self-discharge lowers the voltage of Li-ion to about 2.50V/cell, at which point the protection circuit opens and most packs become unserviceable with a regular charger. Power tools and medical devices drawing high current tend to push the battery voltage to an early cut-off prematurely. This is especially apparent at cold temperatures and in cells with high internal resistance. These batteries may still have ample capacity left after the cutoff; discharging them with a battery analyzer at a moderate load will often give a residual capacity of 30 percent. Figure 1 illustrates the cut-off voltage graphically.To prevent triggering premature cutoff at a high load or cold temperature, some device manufacturers may lower the end-of-discharge voltage. Li-ion in a power tool may discharge the battery to 2.70V/cell instead of 3.00V/cell; Li-phosphate may go to 2.45V/cell instead of 2.70V/cell, lead acid to 1.40V/cell instead of the customary 1.75V/cell, and NiCd/NiMH to 0.90V/cell instead of 1.00V/cell. 

  • What is Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV)?

    An automated guided vehicle or automatic guided vehicle (AGV) is a portable robot that follows along marked long lines or wires on the floor, or uses radio waves, vision cameras, magnets, or lasers for navigation. They are most often used in industrial applications to transport heavy materials around a large industrial building, such as a factory or warehouse. Application of the automatic guided vehicle broadened during the late 20th century.The AGV can tow objects behind them in trailers to which they can autonomously attach. The trailers can be used to move raw materials or finished product. The AGV can also store objects on a bed. The objects can be placed on a set of motorized rollers (conveyor) and then pushed off by reversing them. AGVs are employed in nearly every industry, including pulp, paper, metals, newspaper, and general manufacturing. Transporting materials such as food, linen or medicine in hospitals is also done.An AGV can also be called a laser guided vehicle (LGV). In Germany the technology is also called Fahrerlose Transport system (FTS) and in Sweden förarlösa truckar. Lower cost versions of AGVs are often called Automated Guided Carts (AGCs) and are usually guided by magnetic tape. AGCs are available in a variety of models and can be used to move products on an assembly line, transport goods throughout a plant or warehouse, and deliver loads.The first AGV was brought to market in the 1950s, by Barrett Electronics of Northbrook, Illinois, and at the time it was simply a tow truck that followed a wire in the floor instead of a rail. Out of this technology came a new type of AGV, which follows invisible UV markers on the floor instead of being towed by a chain. The first such system was deployed at the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago, Illinois to deliver mail throughout its offices.Over the years the technology has become more sophisticated and today automated vehicles are mainly Laser navigated e.g. LGV (Laser Guided Vehicle). In an automated process, LGVs are programmed to communicate with other robots to ensure product is moved smoothly through the warehouse, whether it is being stored for future use or sent directly to shipping areas. Today, the AGV plays an important role in the design of new factories and warehouses, safely moving goods to their rightful destination.

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