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What is Back Feeding the Grid?

What is Back-Feeding the Grid?

Back Feeding into the Grid, also known as grid back feeding or grid-tied energy, refers to sending excess electricity generated by a Distributed Energy Resource (DER), such as solar panels or a wind turbine, back into the Grid. This typically occurs when the DER generates more electricity than the owner or operator of the system consumes (or stores) at a given moment.

Here’s how back-feeding into the Grid works:

Energy Generation:

When a DER like solar panels produces electricity, it is used to power the electrical loads within the property where the DER is installed. If the DER generates more electricity than is consumed locally, the excess electricity can be returned to the Grid.

Inverter:

Most grid-tied DER systems use inverters to convert the DC (direct current) electricity generated by sources like solar panels into AC (alternating current) electricity that can be used in homes or businesses and fed into the Grid.

Grid Connection:

The DER system is connected to the local electrical Grid through the DNO’s (Distribution Network Operator) infrastructure. This connection allows for the bidirectional flow of electricity, both from the Grid to the property and from the property back to the Grid.

Metering:

To track the electricity being sent back to the Grid, a special meter, often called a bidirectional or net meter, is installed. This meter records the energy consumed from the Grid and the excess energy fed back into the Grid.

Compensation:

Depending on local regulations and utility policies, the excess electricity fed back into the Grid may be compensated through various mechanisms. This can include net metering, feed-in tariffs, or other incentive programs. In some cases, the excess energy may be credited on the customer’s electricity bill or even purchased by the utility at a predetermined rate.

Grid back feeding has several benefits, including reducing electricity bills for the DER owner, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and contributing to the overall stability and reliability of the electrical Grid. However, it also requires careful management to ensure grid safety and stability, especially when a significant portion of electricity generation comes from distributed sources.

Regulations and technical standards for grid back feeding vary by region and utility, so it’s important for DER owners to understand the rules and requirements in their specific area.

Why is it important to ensure a stable voltage?

If the voltage generated by a Distributed Energy Resource (DER), such as a solar panel or wind turbine, is too low or too high, it can lead to several potential issues and concerns, both for the DER system itself and for the electrical Grid –

Synchronisation Problems:

DERs are typically designed to operate within a specific voltage range that is compatible with the electrical Grid. If the voltage generated by a DER is too low, it may not synchronise properly with the Grid, potentially causing synchronisation issues and disruptions.

Grid Voltage Quality and Stability Problems:

High and low voltage from a DER can affect the quality and stability of the electrical Grid. It can lead to voltage fluctuations and increased stress on grid infrastructure. In extreme cases, it may contribute to grid instability or damage to grid equipment.

To prevent these issues, it’s essential that DER systems are correctly designed, installed, and maintained to ensure that they operate within the specified voltage limits. This typically involves the use of voltage regulation and control mechanisms within the DER system, such as voltage regulators. Additionally, grid-tied DER systems are usually required to meet specific voltage and frequency standards to ensure safe and reliable operation when connected to the Grid.

In some cases, utilities or grid operators may have monitoring and control mechanisms in place to address voltage issues, such as remotely disconnecting or curtailment of DER systems that are contributing to voltage problems on the Grid.

Sinalda’s DVO range of Dynamic Voltage Optimisers are designed to provide the consumer with a stabilised optimised voltage to minimise energy bills and also, if required, ensure that any electricity sent back into the Grid is regulated to within the Grid operator-specified voltage limits, thereby minimising the risk rejection of the DER’s surplus to requirements back fed output.

Typical Sinalda Dynamic Voltage Optimisation (DVO) solution for back-feed applications

To learn more about the Dynamic Voltage Optimiser solutions we offer at Sinalda UK for Grid back feed applications, please check out the links below:

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