Solar Today March April 2014 : Page 18

h i gh-p e rform an c e bu i l din gs | NREL M odeling a whole -building , integrated -design approach , PHOTO BY KI M A D AMS /NREL the E S IF incorporates long skylights and clerestory gla z ing to fl ood occupied The ESIF Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System monitors and controls research facility-based processes, gathers and disseminates real-time data for collaboration and visualization. spaces with natural light , operable windows for cooling and ventilation , solar -powered fans and recycled materials . The integrated control room underneath the HPC data center. traditional data centers, including $800,000 in electrical energy savings and $200,000 in ther-mal energy savings. … And Pow e rfully I n t e gr a t ed S yst e ms The computers are fully integrated with a util-ity-scale power hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL) testing capability, connecting physical devices such as photovoltaic (PV) inverters to a simu-18 MARCH/APRIL 2014 SOLAR TODAY lated electric grid. Researchers evaluate compo-nent and system performance under actual loads. The PHIL capability includes a programmable 1-MW AC grid simulator, a 1-MW PV simula-tor and a 1-MW load bank connected through the ESIF’s Research Electrical Distribution Bus. This power-integration circuit connects energy sources in all of the laboratories with “plug-and-play” test components, using two AC and two DC ring buses. The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System monitors and controls all of the ESIF systems, recording real-time, high-resolution data. In 2013, NREL researchers and partner Advanced Energy evaluated the grid support features of AE’s 500-kW PV inverter and con-nected the inverter to a simulation of a simplified distribution system. They studied the inverter’s response to a simulated islanding event, the first step in evaluating the PHIL using a real-world distribution system model. The ongoing project is among the first to prove that electric utilities and manufacturers can use ESIF capabilities to test new and potentially groundbreaking chang-es to their circuits with no risk to the utilities or their customers. Molly Riddell i s a sc ien c e and t e ch n ology wr i t e r and co n tr i but in g edi tor w i th SOLAR TODAY . Co n t a ct h e r a t mr idde ll@sol a rto da Copyright © 2014 American Solar Energy Society. All rights reserved. PHOTO BY DENNI S S CHROEDER/NREL

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