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101 renewable - Voltage Regulators

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Last Updated
28th of March, 2020

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DC Voltage Regulators

Voltage Regulators and Load Diversion Controllers:-

A conventional photovoltaic (PV) system driving a D.C. load consists of a PV array, storage battery, a Battery Voltage Regulator (BVR) and a load just like in the diagram above. According to best scenario case, the load voltage is equal to the battery voltage. The battery voltage varies according to its state of charge (SOC).

The voltage of typical lead-acid batteries, widely used in PV systems, varies between 93.5 and 120% of its nominal voltage according to its state of charge. Such voltage variations are accepted by many D.C. loads. However, critical loads, some communication systems, require a regulated voltage, hence the battery voltage variations are not accepted for these applications.

The conventional solution of this problem is to operate the PV system at a higher voltage and to include a Voltage Regulator as a control circuit that is doing just that, is keeping the PV output at a constant value on the load respective battery side. In some instances when the output is too much we will make use of Passive Elements, hence the load will be operating within the allowed limits, and to get just that we will induce power dissipation in the passive elements as a power loss. This kind of elements are mostly used with wind turbines and solar pumps type of ecosystems and they are Diversion Loads and Diversion Controllers.

Other type of voltage regulators used with PV Systems are Transformers. They compensate any voltage drop on a longer feeder, by increasing the voltage which is fed to the load. That apply on the AC load side of the installation. On the DC side we have DC to DC Transformers which will decrees the voltage fed to the battery bank or some direct DC consumers to match manufacturer recommended values.

DC to DC Converters:-

High-efficient DC to DC converters are operating bi-directional in this way they can be used to increase or decrease the output voltage on the load side. They are used to operate 12-volt loads on a 24- or 48-volt battery system or to run a 24-volt RV refrigerator on a 48-volt battery system. The units come with their own internal fuses and do not require external fusing other than a fuse in case the user wish to protect the serviced equipment. The external fusing can be done using an ATC fuse (automotive tab style) similar to those used in 12 and 24 V rated systems or a Bussman GMT fuse for 48 volt rated systems.

DC to DC converters are used to couple Storage Battery Banks to PV Plant and improve the total power output at time when the power harvested get clipped during PV Array pick production. Most of the time the pick production of a PV Array is 1.25 to 1.50 bigger as Solar Inverter/Charger power rating. It means the system adjust the DC power intake obtained from solar panels by shaving the top of the power curve to mach the inverter/charger power rating. The clipped power is unused and lost. A DC to DC Voltage regulator can capture the area which is clipped and harvest all that energy direct over a DC  feed into a battery bank, which will get coupled to the system at that moment. At a later time when the production becomes still the excess power from battery bank will be used to power the critical loads.

Converter Input Output Voltage Diagram

But that is not all, recouping the unused (PV Array) harvested energy comes at morning and evening hours, and even in time of clouding periods during the day time. In our graph is the the part of the curve which is hashed out in green. Using a DC to DC voltage regulator we take in the energy harvested which is less what the Inverter/Charger will need to "wake up". That lower energy level it will be dumped into a battery bank attached to the system using an additional DC Converter, The process will couple the battery bank to the system through DC to DC voltage regulator allowing all the energy harvested to be recovered, and improving system efficiency.

Diversion Loads & Diversion Controllers:-

Voltage Converter Diversion Diagram

Diversion loads are low-voltage water heating elements used for wind or hydroelectric systems. Use one or more of these heating elements with a charge controller designed for load diversions, such as Morningstar TS-45 or TS-60, and turn your excess power into hot water or hot air. They can be used in 12-, 24 and 48-volt diversion regulated systems. The diagram shows how the Power to Voltage curves are flattening for different temperature values once the diversion loads controller is called into action.

AC Auto-Transformers:-

Auto Trafo Controller Output

We can use an autotransformer as a step-down voltage to connect the 240V output of a generator to the 120V input on an inverter. This allows the full output power of a 240V generator to be used for battery charging. Autotransformers can step-up voltage to operate 240V appliances and motors from the 120V output of an inverter. At the same time, they can be used for step-up, step-down, generator and split phase output balancing or as a series stacked inverter to load balancing auto-former.

DC/DC Auto-Transformers:-


DC/DC Auto Transformers are called Step-Down or Step-Up auto transformers, and are designed to increase or decrease the DC voltage fed into the unit. Functioning as solid-state converters they have high efficiency and provide regulated VDC output from a large DC input range. Example they generate a steady 12VDC output form 20 -30 VDC PV Array power supply unit as input. We use them to power 12-volt lights or appliances using a 24-volt system. For example, the 12 / 24 VDC model will produce 12 VDC from 24 VDC and can be connected backward to produce 24 VDC from a 12 VDC source.

Visitor Comments
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