[LINK] Micro-inverters and Browser Monitoring Key to Solar Power

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Sat Nov 13 10:16:56 AEDT 2010

Recently Arnold McKinley <http://people.cecs.anu.edu.au/user/4207>
talked at the Australian National University about electronics and
software he helped develop in California at Xslent Energy Technologies
(XET), to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic panels. This involved
Reactive Power Generation with Micro-inverters and Browser Based Energy
Monitoring of Renewable Systems:

As Arni pointed out there have been few and minor improvements solar
panel output. To become an affordable and major source of energy,
improvements will need to be looked for elsewhere.

Arni argues detailed and verifiable third party energy monitoring takes
the uncertainty out of renewable credits and so makes this more
attractive to utilities and solar providers. He gives the example of the
XET Apparent REView system, which gives a web based interface to monitor
local power generation: 

Rather than rely on the utility company to tell you how much power you 
are producing you can get your own readings. The system can monitor the 
output of individual solar panels and report faults, if they are 
equipped with MicroInverters (he also talked about the advantage of 
micro-inverters in supplling reactive power to the grid, but I did not 
understand the technicalities of this): 

Such monitoring systems would be of value for apartment buildings with 
shared renewable energy systems, such as City Edge

and Nishi
<http://blog.tomw.net.au/2010/11/nishi-apartments-canberra.html> in 

The problem with shared, grid connected renewable systems is that while 
much of the the enery is generated used on site, the billing is done 
remotely by a utility company. At City Edge, the solar boosted central 
gas hot water system is very efficient. So in summer, most of the bill I 
get is not the cost of the utility company supping energy, but the cost 
of them sending me the bill. In effect I am paying for someone to send 
me a bill saying how much sunlight from my own roof I am using. An 
alternative would be for the body corporate to have its own metering 
system, measure the power generated locally, that bought from the grid, 
any sold to the grid, and billing the households accordingly.

Tom Worthington FACS CP HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science, The
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/
Visiting Scientist, CSIRO ICT Centre: http://bit.ly/csiro_ict_canberra

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