PNC BANK MAKES GREAT INVESTMENT WITH SOLAR POWERED DC MICROGRID
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is one of the sunniest locations in the United States, so it makes a lot of sense for businesses to use the great weather to their advantage by powering electrical systems with solar power. But for a PNC Bank branch, the traditional solar system they employed was too ineffficient to be cost effective. That's when they turned to Nextek Power Systems.
Most solar technologies take the direct current (DC) produced by photovoltaic arrays and invert it to alternating current (AC), so it can be used by existing wiring and equipment. But there is a significant power loss in the inversion from DC to AC. Plus, the power must then be converted back to DC for use in equipment that incorporates semiconductors, resulting in additional power loss.
For a company that prides itself on fiscal acumen and responsibility, this strategy didn't make much sense. They asked Nextek to see what their Direct Coupling® technology could do to improve the energy situation.
Direct Coupling® technology utilizes DC-compatible equipment that eliminates the need for most conversions/inversions, regulating the solar array and the power to the load, thereby reducing power loss in the system, which translates to energy cost savings.
Existing photovoltaic panels were employed in this project. The solar array produces between 60 – 120 VDC through a Maximum Power Point Tracking Controller to a constant output voltage for distribution through a Power Server Module. The input of the PSM combines DC power from the solar array, with AC from the grid, which is only used when needed.
The DC photovoltaic system has successfully powered the facility, almost completely eliminating the use of grid-supplied AC power during business hours.