The EcoVAR STATCOM
The EcoVAR is a Low Voltage STATic COMpensator (STATCOM) that helps utilities manage the voltage on Low Voltage Networks. It does this by sinking and sourcing reactive power and does not require batteries or energy storage.
Some product advantages:
- STATCOMs are a relatively simple and effective solution to voltage problems for electrical utilities.
- The single phase EcoVAR is rated at 10kVAr and is smaller and lighter than most competitors 5kVAr units.
- A three phase 30kVAr configuration is possible.
- It does not have fans, a major cause of poor reliability, made possible by it’s world leading efficiency of around 98.5%.
- It is highly flexible with a sand boxed built in scripting language that allows “Power Users” to write programs to customise the behaviour of the product.
- The EcoVAR supports common utility SCADA protocols such as Modbus and DNP3.
- It is user friendly with set-up and configuration via any device running a web browser.
The EcoVAR STATCOM Application
There has been a large uptake of rooftop residential solar systems in many parts of the world including Australia. This high uptake has caused some problems for electrical utilities. One of these problems is that solar systems have caused an increase in the voltage variation or swing that occurs on low voltage networks. During the middle of the day solar output is high and loads are low resulting in high voltages on the grid. However in the evening the peak loads and therefore minimum voltages remain the same. Thus the voltage swing has increased.
The EcoVAR STATCOM operates by sinking and sourcing reactive power. When the voltage is high (typically when solar output is high and loads are low) the EcoVAR STATCOM sinks inductive reactive power to reduce the grid voltage. When the voltage is low (typically during peak load periods) the EcoVAR STATCOM sources capacitive reactive power to boost the grid voltage. Thus the LV network voltage profile is flattened and the voltage swing (or variation) is reduced.
Electricity utilities could perhaps in the future introduce connection rules which specify reactive power functionality for solar inverters. However this will be complex and time consuming to implement and reactive power functionality cannot be retrofitted to the existing installed solar inverters. Therefore regardless of future connection rules, the STATCOM remains as an important solution for the existing installed base of solar inverters. It is a currently available solution and is installed on utility poles under utility control .
- Configurable steady state Droop Curve with controlled dynamic response results in stable performance and eliminates unwanted interactions with other devices.
- Low harmonics and EMC made possible by a high effective output switching frequency.
- Cutting Edge Low Loss design achieves 98.5% efficiency.
- User scripting allows customisation of the device.
- Rich datalogging capability with 4GB on-board storage.
- Communications support standard utility protocols (Modbus, DNP3).
- Simple installation and mounting arrangement.