In the early days of solar panels, the photovoltaic energy they produced most frequently was exported to the grid for distribution rather than being used directly on-site. Today that model is on the decline in favor of the self-consumption of solar energy by the building to which the solar panels are attached.
Why does this matter? Quite simply because the details of how the photovoltaic equipment is installed—especially the electrical distribution system—can be quite different, depending which alternative you select.
A new video series produced by Schneider Electric’s technical communication and training group offers clear explanations of the many factors that must be considered when planning to add solar production to a building’s electrical installation.
The first video in the series “Photovoltaic self-consumption brings fundamental changes in the electrical installation,” provides an overview of the way export-to-grid and self-consumption PV systems are set.
It also explains three fundamental changes that occur when the choice is made to self-consume the PV energy.
- The electrical installation is no longer supplied by a single source, but by two or more sources operating in parallel to the grid supply.
- Each local source will produce energy (or not, depending on conditions), which means that the installation has multiple operating modes, according to energy source combinations.
- The photovoltaic panels produce a direct current output and use power inverters to convert this DC output into AC.
Other videos in this series address various aspects of solar energy self-consumption in greater detail, including important technical considerations such as:
- Where to connect the photovoltaic production
- How to calculate the system parameters of the installation, including photovoltaic production for self-consumption
- Sizing a building installation with solar production
- How to protect a building electrical system with integrated solar production
Finally, this series provides answers to many of the most commonly asked questions about solar systems and their integration into buildings. You can also learn more about PV installations in Chapter P of the Electrical Installation Guide.