Case Study: Solar Decathlon

Benefits of Bi-Directional Regulation

The Need

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges teams from around the world to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

In past years competitions, these super energy-efficient structures have caused voltage to spike on the micro-grid constructed to service the competition. These voltage spikes caused inverters to trip and endangered the outcome of the competition.

MicroPlanet Solution

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Labs chose MicroPlanet’s split-phase voltage regulators to correct the voltage rise problem associated with solar PV (photo-voltaics). MicroPlanet’s voltage regulators provide a unique four-quadrant design that not only increases and decreases voltage to ½ volt of a customer-determined set point, but that also regulate voltage bi-directionally. In other words, voltage is regulated as it comes from the grid into the user’s premises and from distributed, renewable sources (e.g., solar PV and wind turbines) back onto the grid.

1380670437_file_extension_pdf Explanation of Technology PDF

1380670437_file_extension_pdf Solar Decathalon Report PDF