The Solar Digest for Solar Power, Solar Energy and Photovoltaic PV News - Test and Measurement

A New PV Monitoring System For Using Solar Power Efficiently

SolarcheckPhoenix Contact’s Solarcheck modular monitoring system reliably provides information about the operating conditions on the DC side of photovoltaic systems.

By localising faults in individual strings, this system makes it possible to react immediately, thus increasing system availability.

The monitoring tool for PV systems can be easily integrated into existing network structures. The four-part system consists of various modules for measuring current and voltage. A communication module collects measured values from the current measurement modules and relays them to a higher-level control system. Either four or eight string currents are measured with a single measurement module. A maximum of eight current measurement modules of any type can be connected to a communication module.

The compact measurement module has a width of only 22.5 mm, allowing it to bundle the cables into a small space. The two-conductor communication cable is used simultaneously for supplying the measurement module. No additional power supply is needed in the field. This is also true for connecting the additional voltage measurement module. To perform contact-free current measurement, the cables are simply routed through openings in the housing during installation. Since the cables are not interrupted, no additional contact points are created, which would generate transition resistances and constitute a potential fault source. Return currents are reliably detected, thus providing a complete picture of the system performance.

The monitoring system can optionally be expanded with the voltage measurement module to make measurements up to 1500 V. This allows an additional overview of the productivity of a PV system, providing a cost-effective solution for forward-looking, high-voltage installations. Monitoring systems continuously provide status information and simple visualization for optimizing the energy efficiency of operating sites or megawatt-sized ground-mounted systems. Phoenix Contact provides an extensive portfolio of hardware and software products specifically for this purpose.

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