Global electronics company Omron Electronics will showcase its power-monitoring, power-management and energy-saving products at the Solar Show Africa 2017 – which runs alongside the Power & Electricity World Africa 2017 conference taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre on March 28 and 29.
The company intends to use what it considers to be the leading African renewable- energy exhibition and conference to display some of its latest products and technology, thereby increasing market awareness of the KM-N3 power monitor and the KP100L photovoltaic (PV) inverter.
The KM-N3 is a multicircuit compact power monitor that can be mounted on or in control panels and distribution boards, and is compatible with any power supply anywhere in the world, the company states. Further, it has unique Push-in Plus terminal blocks that help reduce wiring mistakes.
Omron notes that the KM-N3 is the culmination of more than 20 years of development in the power-monitoring field and has, therefore, solved previous design, installation, wiring and commissioning problems. It also allows for bi-directional power measurement.
The KP100L, as reported in Engineering News in January, is currently the only potential induced degradation (PID) preventive inverter on the market. The company intends to use the platform provided by the Power & Electricity World Africa conference to increase awareness about PID, which can reduce the output of a solar PV module by as much as 70% in a few years.
Omron Electronics solar specialist Ross Allan noted that “the cost implication is apparent when you consider that solar power plants usually have a 25-year operational life”.
The company remarks that the KP100L’s embedded ZigZag chopper circuit technology is its most innovative feature, with Allan explaining that “what this achieves is effective control of the negative pole voltage, as if it was virtually grounded”. This subsequently removes the need for integrated transformers or any other hardware to prevent negative voltage.
Further, he explains that the KP100L is not only a transformer-less PV inverter but also cheaper, lighter, smaller and much more efficient than any integrated transformer, making these benefits “critical” within the African context. The inverter also boasts an “impressive efficiency rate of 97.5%”, he adds.
Additional features include a maximum power point tracking range, with the three trackers suitable for multiple and single use monitoring extra-peak capacity, increased efficiency in low-radiation scenarios, a balanced three-phase feed-in, and integrated smart functions for ancillary grid services.
The inverter is suitable for monocrystalline and polycrystalline PV modules, and has an ingress protection of 65 and a temperature range of 60 ºC.
The KP100L PV inverter also features NRS 097-2-1 certification specifically for application in the South African electricity supply industry. Grid-limiting functionality, which prevents injection back into the grid, is a standard feature.
The company recently achieved 6.5 GW of PV inverters sold to the market globally.
Some of the company’s other grid-limiting technology will also be on display, including the CP1W-CIF12 Omron automation and safety controllers, and the S8VK power supply.
Global representatives from Omron Electronics who will be on hand to share their experience and expertise with visitors and prospective clients are key account manager Stefano Corni and product marketing manager Eleonora Denna, both from Omron’s European environmental solution business unit.
“The global PV industry is booming, and we have an extensive international presence. It is Omron’s experience in designing sensing technology for different sectors that has given it a leading edge in this particular market, including the South African renewable-energy industry,” Denna comments.
The company recognises that this exhibition and conference attracts designers, integrators, and engineering, procurement and construction contractors from the continent and, therefore, offers a unique opportunity to interact with African renewable-energy companies, utilities and innovators.
The company notes that one of the main problems that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa has to address is the lack of a national feed-in tariff or net-metering programmes. This would enable customers using renewable power to partially offset the costs of drawing power from the national utility.
Allan explains that, since small-scale installations are not allowed to feed into the utility, using grid-limiting technology is necessary to throttle the inverter to only supply demand to meet the load on a building, which could result in additional cost to the customer.
He notes that, currently, only the municipalities of the City of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay and eThekwini have net metering programmes in place, but hopes that similar programmes will be implemented in all municipalities in the near future.