The SmartSolar Project


Within the framework of EU policies, the intelligent management of energy on the demand side and decentralized generation technologies will be the most important technologies to reduce consumption of fossil energy and to level the load curves of electricity production systems and networks transportation and distribution.

The interdependence of the components of a power system and their complex interactions require testing of the entire operating system realistic scenarios, one way to determine the overall performance and efficiency. Test individual components in laboratory studies and optimize each component alone does not result in an optimized system. Laboratory studies produce correct measurements and data that can be easily reproduced. However, a major weakness is the lack of a connection to real conditions, since studies state-of-the-art today are limited to small parts of the power management system.

In contrast to laboratory studies, field studies allow detailed analysis of the performance along with perceptions of how users interact with energy management systems. However, there are always compromises between accuracy and generality, because each study is focused on a limited number of users and types of solutions. Furthermore, it is very complicated to optimize intelligent energy systems during the field study, since both the weather and the behavior of users are constantly changing. In this context, it is intended with this project to build a solution that is a pioneer in the integration of monitoring local production of energy, to monitoring, analysis and management of energy consumption, optimizing the entire production process, storage and use of energy.

This solution will allow, on the production side, work with individual systems behavior models (based on machine learning and meteorological variables) and determine the existence of failures in production systems, from simple shooting a protective circuit that currently only it is detected with the reception of the monthly bill to the failure of a single PV module or the presence of dirt which results in a loss of production. On the side of energy use, the solution developed will manage the energy better, whether at the household level, a building or the grid level. As for the consumer, the test bench to be developed, based on solutions Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL), will allow to emulate the behavior of complete systems and predict its operation in great detail. The HIL combines real components tests with artificial boundary conditions previously calculated based on a model in real time of the rest of the system. As a result, HIL allows you to test any equipment under controlled and repeatable conditions.

The project aims to design, build and test an innovative HIL platform for home energy systems to go· din,micos support and comprehensive testing of any component to be inserted into the system. The platform specifications will be made available to stakeholders. The main concept behind the test HIL is replacing physical parts of the system with computer models. The simulated components must be computed in real time so as to operate continuously and seamlessly with the physical components. Full be meshed with the propagation of signals between the physical part and the simulated part through sensors and actuators. HIL technology will study the behavior of components and their interaction. In controlled laboratory conditions, loading profiles and behaviors of partial load of the components may be integrated into a holistic optimization system operating with an adapted control using information technology state-of-the-art.

Energy management systems to study integrate decentralized renewable energy generation with an extensive exchange of information with the storage management systems and energy use. Installation can integrate electrical and thermal systems, storage, use and interconnection to the grid. The first coupling method, Signal Level HIL, is starting to test the system controller and is easily implemented as it is only necessary to couple the signal between the simulator and the hardware to be tested. In this type of HIL testing, the controller module (which contains the control algorithm) is tested and the rest of the system (machines, mechanical loads, power equipment, etc.) are simulated in real time. In a second option, the HIL can be used to test physical devices so as to ensure the conservation of energy in the boundary between the virtual system and the real system. This concept is applied to the power conductors, the power converters or other equipment in an energy system.

The test bench to develop the project allows dynamic testing and real-time home energy systems composed of component production, storage and use of energy. Thus the SmartSolar will allow detailed and accurate assessment of energy systems performance, including domestic systems. Instead of testing individual components with stable states methods (steady-state), the entire system will be tested under dynamic boundary conditions, reducing the gap to define the conditions necessary for a comprehensive evaluation of the system. The proposed platform can help reduce energy consumption from fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions associated and be used as a development tool by the researchers responsible for the design of components for domestic microgeneration systems as well as be used as a benchmark to assess in a standard manner certain components of the system, given predefined environmental conditions. The development to conduct includes interfaces to the hardware / simulation, as well as modeling and simulation software. This test bench go · combine the existing infrastructure FactorEnergia, with about 200 locations in Madeira, using the network of photovoltaic microgenerators as the basis for a large network of HIL. This system will provide feedback for consumers / microproducers while going · generate data for network analysis and production prediction. The final solution will integrate the collection of energy consumption data of the site in order to strike a balance between the energy consumed and that locally produced by photovoltaic systems. Thus, be · created a new service to be subscribed by the owners of photovoltaic systems, · enable them to have access, via web applications, to historical production (day, week, month, year) of its photovoltaic systems and the associated consumption at the same site. This integrated solution of production and consumption will also be an important tool for managing the electricity distribution network and will anticipate the needs of energy use from production support systems (reserve), allowing the dispatch the possibility of better management support systems to ensure the stability of the electrical system, with lower power consumption.

Funding Information:

Funding Program + Conhecimento II: Incentive System to Research and Technological Development and Innovation of Madeira Region II, through the project “Smart Solar” – MADFDR-01-0190-FEDER-000015. Total funding: 417.201,27 €.