Electronics to Increase Solar Panel Output
(1) Reactive Power Generation for the Electrical Grid Using Micro-inverters on Solar Arrays and (2) Browser Based Energy Monitoring of Renewable Systems
Arnold McKinley (ANU)SOLAR SEMINAR SERIES
TIME: 15:00:00 - 16:00:00
LOCATION: Ian Ross Seminar Room
I present brief summaries of two products developed over the past 5 years during my work at XET Energy, a startup near San Francisco, California.
(1) Micro-inverters are more efficient than large inverters tied to strings of solar arrays for several reasons, but up to the release of the XET product, micro-inverters have not been able to produce reactive power. XET's new product turns solar arrays into bona-fide electrical generators capable of producing reactive power on demand by the utilities in order to quell destabilizing voltage swings on the local grid. This makes fields of solar arrays much more attractive to the utilities and brings "solar neighborhoods" closer to reality.(2) Continuous energy monitoring of renewable energy supplies is critical to the solar industry. It ensures accurate measurements of power flow from solar array fields to the grid, taking the uncertainty out of renewable credits and ensuring accurate utility payments to solar owners. XET's product monitors small to large systems down to the single panel. It performs comparisons among panels or among fields of arrays. It provides resolution down to 15 seconds if necessary, and generates some financial documents relating to the benefits of any given solar system.
Bio: Arni McKinley, who holds Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Engineering-Economics from Stanford University, has recently joined Kylie Catchpole's group at the ANU to study for his PhD. He has spent many years as a professional programmer in various engineering fields, most recently at XET Energy where he was the resident mathematician and the Senior Programmer working on the Energy Monitoring product. His name appears on two patents for the micro-inverter product.