Kipp & Zonen adds suite of new ‘smart’ PV power plant monitoring instruments for higher accuracy

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Kipp & Zonen has added six new smart instruments that are intended to complete a full range of solar radiation measurement solutions. A totally ‘smart’ solar and sky radiation monitoring station is now available at all performance levels that include its SMP6, SMP21 and SMP22 pyranometers, the SGR3 and SGR4 pyrgeometers, and the SUV5 total UV radiometer.


Climatology requirements for utility-scale and commercial PV power plants are becoming more demanding. Owners and operators are seeking greater accuracy in areas such as irradiance data and analysis as power plants are optimized for maximum performance, yield and reliability. 


Kipp & Zonen has now combined the research-grade CMP21 and CMP22 pyranometers with smart features to provide improved performance, in the new SMP21 and SMP22 models. All of its smart instruments have active temperature correction but in the SMP21 and 22 they have been individually optimised to improve measurement accuracy. The smart pyranometers also have faster response time to better match PV requirements. Pyrgeometer detectors produce a ‘net’ output signal that represents the difference between the temperature of the detector and the temperature of the sky. It is necessary to measure the pyrgeometer temperature and apply an equation to calculate the actual downward long-wave far infrared irradiance. The new smart SGR3 and SGR4 pyrgeometers perform this calculation internally, accurately and in real-time, avoiding possible external processing errors. The digital output includes net radiation, downward radiation and temperature. 


Climate monitoring of PV power plants. 


The Smart range has as the main benefit a RS-485 ‘Modbus’ interface, combined with an amplified analogue output. Instruments can be connected directly to a digital data acquisition system for live radiation measurements, to monitor the status and power supply and to keep track of the calibration history. Connection of up to 247 instruments is possible to just one Modbus cable. Reprogramming the data loggers after recalibration is not required due to the instruments having standardised output ranges. This makes them easily exchangeable, saving time and cost. Another maintenance-saving development is that all new Smart instruments will have internal desiccant with a guaranteed lifespan of 10 years. The inspection of drying cartridges is not required. The ‘SmartExplorer’ computer software that comes free, allows simple configuration of the instrument communication settings, monitoring of the measurement and status parameters, logging and viewing of the data. Even if the communication parameters are lost, or unknown, the software is able to establish communication and set the instrument back to a defined state.


January 2016 onwards.

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