46 The Utility Interface

The interface between distributed power sources and electric power systems is the point at which new standards for interconnection will apply. Although at the present time standards are still evolving, the key issues as they apply to PV systems can be summarized. Since the PV industry has taken the lead in the new DG technologies (microturbines, fuel cells, and PV), it is likely that these three, at least, will end up with similar standards.

Interconnection standards result in safe and reliable PV systems. A key feature is the disconnect between the PV source and the grid system if the grid experiences an outage. This prevents powering the utility system from the DG system, thereby protecting line personnel. The independent system operator (ISO) also requires PV operators to operate within frequency and voltage limits. A key driver for new standards is that the existing grid was not designed for DG. Interconnection standards address these main features:

• Coordination with distribution system equipment, such as upstream voltage regulators and overcurrent protection devices

• Transformer connections and grounding

• Monitoring, data telemetry, and utility remote control

• Testing and verification of interconnection relays, switchgear, and distributed generation control equipment

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.

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