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The Role of Transformers in Renewable Energy

The Role of Transformers in Renewable Energy

Countries are expected to significantly increase their installed capacities of variable renewable energy (VRE) resources in the coming years to accomplish their ambitious net-zero objectives. However, such an exponential growth in capacity needs to be facilitated by developing transformers, reactors, substations, and other transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure. Transformers play a vital role in managing power system resources. They have been utilized to step-up and step-down electrical energy at various points of a traditional power system. The nature of the power system has transformed with the introduction of Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) sources. Due to this, transformers must be modified to continue playing their crucial role in power system management by integrating solar and wind power transmission and distribution.

VRE resources into the power system necessitate installing specialized inverter systems on these new transformers, allowing the conversion from DC output sources to AC voltages. Other functions like improved harmonic systems and switching transients must also be implemented on transformers to integrate VRE sources. Another peculiarity of VREs is their intermittent nature. Solar and wind VRE resources can only produce energy when sunlight and wind are sufficient. This intermittency can introduce large load swings in a relatively short period of time, resulting in pressure changes within liquid-filled transformer tanks. Therefore, solar and wind-based VRE power sources require specialized transformers known as smart transformers.

Smart Transformers for Renewable Energy

VRE installations have intermittent and volatile electricity generation profiles with rapid and huge peaks and dips. Also, the rise of rooftop solar installations in the upcoming years will create more prosumers willing to sell electricity to the grid during the day when they generate more than their needs and withdraw electricity from the grid during nighttime when their generation is almost zero.

Conventional transformers are intrinsically designed to facilitate the power flow of substantial volumes of electricity in one direction. They must be upgraded to smarter variants to manage the bidirectional flow of large amounts of energy. Essentially, these smart transformers will ensure that electricity can be sourced from prosumers during peak hours and extended to consumers who need it at competitive prices. Thus, smart transformers would enable the grid to simultaneously dispense the electricity as it’s generated without requiring expensive energy storage facilities.

Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can also be installed to gather real-time data on power system performance. Power companies can use these data reports to identify and resolve possible issues before they result in system outages and downtime. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can be introduced to IoT technologies to help predict grid vulnerabilities through advanced component usage modeling and warning systems. Such advanced diagnosis can help reduce operations and maintenance (O&M) costs by allowing companies to better schedule maintenance and operation work. Thus, smart transformers will increase the efficiency of the existing power grid and reduce the O&M costs of its T&D utilities.

Renewable Grid Technologies Are Growing

Smart transformers were once just theoretical devices with no practical applications. Today, they have become an accessible option thanks to the rapid growth of the global renewable energy market. This market is now a mature industrial sector that does not primarily depend on subsidies but rather on true capital investment and freely experiments with these newer technologies.

According to experts, the power transformer market will continue its current trajectory of substantial growth and surpass the $37 billion mark by 2023. With such funding levels, transformer technology will advance at a rate comparable to the growth rate of VRE technologies themselves. If these devices are integrated into renewable energy grids, energy would become readily available to more areas, and energy shortfalls would become a thing of the past. With the growing integration of smart transformers into power grids, the technology continues to advance and be refined, effectively addressing local and national power demands.

Meta Power Solutions Solar Transformer

Meta Power Solutions proudly offers smart transformers designed explicitly for medium-voltage solar photovoltaic applications. Meta Power Solutions is working with several market leaders in solar photovoltaic development, solar integration, and inverter manufacturing industries to evolve the renewable energy market and change how we distribute electrical energy.

Environmentally Desirable

Meta Power Solutions solar transformers use the innovative vegetable-oil-based dielectric coolant — FR3 fluid, which is more environmentally friendly than mineral oil used in traditional liquid-filled transformers. The FR3 fluid is petroleum-independent as it is obtained from soybeans, making it carbon-neutral, non-hazardous, and non-toxic.

Quality Matters

Meta Power Solutions offers the most reliable and durable solar transformer systems in the market, allowing you to make delayed capital expenditures and substantial cost savings and maximize the power handling performance of your power system. The FR3 fluid gives you a superior performance than mineral oil when it comes to protecting and preserving the paper insulation in each coil. The extended insulation life obtained through FR3, coupled with its non-hazardous properties, make the Meta Power Solutions solar transformer design an industry leader in quality and performance.

High Fire Point

The FR3 fluid used in Meta Power Solutions solar transformers has a fire point above 300 °C. On the other hand, mineral oil exhibits excellent dielectric properties but has a fire point of only 155 °C. Thus, mineral oil’s fire point is almost half that of FR3 fluid, which means that mineral-oil-filled transformers are more likely to catch on fire in case of transformer failures. Therefore, switching to Meta Power Solutions’ FR3 fluid-filled solar transformers can help minimize the long-term fire safety risks associated with catastrophic transformer failures.

Choose the Right Transformer Manufacturer

Meta Power Solutions offers state-of-the-art step-up transformers specifically designed for solar power generation applications. The operational characteristics of these transformers include the transformers’ thermal design for operating at higher ambient temperature ranges. Additionally, the transformer core and coils are designed for step-up applications and provided with an electrostatic shield to safeguard against the electrical noise from the inverter and the power grid.

Meta Power Solutions has a team of experts who can assist with any solar system project requiring transformer design and manufacturing. We work closely with our customers to understand their specific needs and provide tailored solutions to ensure that their solar PV system performs efficiently and reliably for years to come. Please feel free to reach out to us for guidance and support in choosing the suitable transformer for your solar PV system installation.

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