Smart Grid Communication Network Equipment for Power and Utility Applications
Energy from the sun can be converted multiple ways into useable energy. In solar applications, electrolytic solar panels capture the sun's rays and convert it directly into electric energy. Large fields of these solar panels are required to collect enough energy to help support electrical needs of small cities and towns. As the sun rises and sets the power derived from these arrays is always changing, and the networking systems that control the panels must always be ready.
A complex network of systems communicates back to a central control room reporting the status of each panel in the array. Commands are sent from the central control room to optimize the panels for maximum efficiency or downtime for repair and cleaning. All of the controls are done through a backbone of industrial networking switches often interconnected by fiber optic cables. The fiber network allows the inverts, meter and PLCs to function in unison across the array of panels. The industrial Ethernet switches used in this type of application must be able to withstand wide temperature ranges as well as the vibration that may occur as the arrays shift their panels to always be pointing at the sun.
- Provide stable and no data loss transmissions over long distances
- Improve operational management
- Provide real-time data access in order to closely monitor uptime and power output from remote locations
Substations are facilities where electricity is transferred from high-voltage transmission lines to lower voltage distribution lines which will be stepped down further for public use. Electrical substations rely heavily on industrial-grade networking devices to keep the power grid cycle running with minimal downtime.
Each substation has a control building on the premise with transformer protection systems networked inside large metal enclosures. Inside each enclosure encompasses main controllers utilizing industrial Ethernet switches and serial devices that monitor meter and IED data. This data is sent via fiber to an administrative center that remotely monitors, accesses, and controls transformer protection systems.
At an administration center, SCADA systems closely monitor substation equipment and an alarm is signaled if an event happens. An administration center worker is able to monitor power flow and control breakers by opening and closing them.
- Support real-time seamless data transmission
- Ability to overcome harsh environments found in substation applications
- A hardened and reliable network infrastructure
- Ability to bring legacy serial IEDs, Meters from transformer protection systems to the network
Wind Turbine Monitoring
In a power generating wind turbine application, it takes more than just wind to push against blades that rotate an electromagnetic generator creating electricity. Turbine blade angles are constantly needing to be adjusted for current wind speeds to obtain optimal power in the given weather conditions. It is a complex operation requiring constant monitoring to keep a wind turbine functioning properly.
Inside the generators, typically located at the top of the wind turbine tower, there is an industrial Ethernet switch connecting all the important sensors collecting turbine data. This data is typically transferred via fiber from one Ethernet switch in the generator to another Ethernet switch at the base of the turbine tower. A wind farm has numerous turbines that link up and communicate via a fiber ring connection through the industrial Ethernet switch in the base of each tower. From each turbine, data is transferred via fiber to a wind control station where data can be monitored and controlled.
- Non-stop and reliable Ethernet infrastructure network with secure data communication and fast fault network recovery capabilities
- Fiber link connections for longer and noise-immune transmissions
- Wide operating temperature range and compact design for field site cabinet installation