Powermode, a Johannesburg-based power-provisioning specialist has launched a new addition to the Soltra range of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generating solutions.
The high capacity Soltra GTB 10 000, which complements the successful Soltra GTB 3000 in the Powermode lineup, is a 10kVA capacity, utility grid-connected, hybrid solar PV power system targeted at small-to-medium-size enterprise and domestic markets.
“The Soltra GTB 10 000 is designed to help businesses and households cope with load-shedding and power outages, functioning as a back-up rather than a complementary power source in these eventualities. This sets it apart from conventional solar PV power systems,” says Jack Ward, Powermode MD.
He says the GTB 10 000 is aimed at larger-sized installations, where it is capable of dealing with bigger loads with a greater degree of backup battery autonomy. “It is also able to obviate the need for costly diesel generators in noise-conscious environments,” notes Ward, who adds that it’s ideal for rooftop installations.
The new unit features an integrated charge controller and inverter and can be operated in three modes: linked to the electricity grid (grid-tied); as grid-tied unit with battery backup (in a hybrid configuration); or as a stand-alone hybrid unit.
The GTB 10 000’s built-in electronic monitoring system facilitates the back-up, by automatically drawing current from storage batteries when the mains power fail. “Switchover time is a rapid 15 milliseconds,” says Ward, adding that this is designed to protect sensitive computer and other delicate equipment from power ‘brownouts’ and ‘spikes’ common to South Africa’s unpredictable electricity supply.
The computerised system is also able to automatically prioritise its power delivery channels; to back-up batteries to facilitate recharging during daytime, for example, or to appliances during user-definable peak periods. At other times the system will automatically juggle power sources between, solar, batteries and the grid to meet changing demands based on individual consumption dynamics.
“In addition, the unit is also able to feed power back into the utility grid - legislation permitting - slowing or even reversing consumption meters to significantly minimise costs to the consumer.”
Ward says the Soltra GTB 10 000 and its companion, the popular GTB 3000, represent a new-generation of cost-effective modular solar solutions requiring a comparatively low initial investment.
“The units can be expanded in terms of capacity to meet future demands. They can also be configured as three-phase solutions to meet commercial and industrial users’ requirements,” he explains.
With the escalating cost of utility power and the imminent arrival of ‘smart metering’ systems that will allow municipal authorities to bill for electricity consumption at much higher rates during peak periods in a process known as time-of-day-billing, Ward maintains that solar solutions will soon be on par with conventional power from the perspective of amortised installation and maintenance costs.
“This is particularly relevant as prices are expected to rise exponentially for power consumed during peak periods in the near future,” he adds.