An Australian company has developed a device, the EdgeIQ, to help maintain electricity grid stability. Grid instability can lead to solar inverter failure among other problems.
Its EdgeIQ voltage regulator not only keeps voltage steady, but reduces annual household power consumption by 9-12 per cent.
Low electricity grid stability threat of solar inverter failure
It’s well known that high grid voltage can cause problems with solar PV systems and inverters. A solar inverter can go offline if there’s a sudden surge in grid voltage.
Grid stability is becoming more difficult to maintain. That’s because distribution networks are not prepared for the impact of household and business solar system feeding into the grid.
What’s less well-known is that sometimes the electricity grid forces our appliances to use more power than they really need, causing damage.
That’s because although the grid should deliver 220 volts, it can go as high as 260 volts during voltage spikes.
This high voltage can have a damaging effect on your appliances, because it’s driving them to run harder than they should. High voltage can also cause appliances to overheat and blows fuses.
The higher voltage also means you are paying for more electricity than you really need to operate your appliance.
How EdgeIQ voltage regulation works
EdgeIQ makes sure your appliances run on exactly 220 volts by taking the grid voltage and smoothing it out as it reaches the house. You can also lower the voltage to 216 volts at times when grid supply is low.
In effect, EdgeIQ shields your home from unnecessary high grid voltages so you use only the electricity you need – saving you money.
Edge Electrons’ executive director is former EnergyAustralia head Richard McIndoe. Its co-founders, Neal Stewart and Ben Frickel, have held positions in major power companies.
ABOVE: Richard McIndoe (right) discusses Australia’s electricity grid stability.
Interviewed for Engerati European Utility Week, McIndoe said the grid was not designed to have solar generated electricity flowing back into it. The result was high voltages and problems with frequency control.
“The network is having real challenges trying to accommodate that rapid and high penetration of solar.”
He said that customers were looking to reduce electricity prices and voltage regulation was one way to do it.
“By dropping the voltage at a household level you can reduce consumption by 10 per cent or more.”