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Grid of the Future

We are at the cusp of a technological revolution with the Smart Cities. A big part of this revolution is a phenomenon called Smart Grid. “Smart Grid” has been a buzzword for years now but the detailed understanding of the framework had been missing for a long time. However, in recent years, the architecture for smart grids has become clear and the stakeholders are ready to dive into the space to transform the way we see and interact with electricity.

A smart grid is an electricity network that can integrate in a cost-efficient manner the behavior and actions of all users connected to it (producers, consumers and prosumers) to ensure economically efficient, a sustainable power system with elevated levels of quality and security of supply and safety. It allows consumers to produce electricity (for example – using rooftop photovoltaic panels) and sell it on to other consumers through existing infrastructure.

A typical Smart Grid architecture will have power system and energy conversion equipment. These can be classified into Generation, Transmission, Distribution, and Prosumer Domains. The Prosumer domain consists of both the Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and the energy consuming end users. The energy flows from the Generation domain to the Consumption domain in a conventional scenario. However, the distributed or democratized resources have pushed the world towards bidirectional flow of power.

The architecture further has classifications depending on the granularity of zones under discussion viz. Process, Station, Operation, Enterprise and Market. The Process Zone includes primary equipment and the energy conversion systems. The Station Zone represents the aggregation of fields, such as substation automation.

The Operation Zone represents power system control operations such as energy management systems and electric vehicle fleet management systems. The Enterprise Zone represents commercial and enterprise level applications such as customer relation management and billing and procurement. The Market zone represents the operations possible along the energy conversion chain, such as energy trading, mass market and retail market.

And finally, the architecture clarifies the interoperability among different layers that exist in the Smart Grid framework: Component Layer, Communication Layer, Information Layer, Function Layer and Business Layer. Amplus Solar has been the leading player in the distributed rooftop solar sector and hence, has been a leader in the transformation of the component layer that includes power system equipment.

As India is infusing more and more renewables into the grid, the role of Information and Communications Technology will grow multifold and define the development of Smart Grids in India. Amplus Energy with its Analytics team has been developing its line of products to capture this market too and lead the way forward for a smarter and connected Indian energy grid.

The Analytics Team at Amplus started with developing hardware and software products for well-optimized management of solar assets, bringing down the downtimes of assets by monitoring even predicting the health of equipment. The company is gearing up to sell its products for the broader energy market of demand response and analytics.

Amplus also envisions the future cities of India with thousands of rooftop projects transacting energy among themselves. Such complex localized ecosystems will need technologies to handle bidding, electricity transfer and financial settlement among peers in a transparent and secure manner. The Analytics Team at Amplus Solar Energy is very excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead and is working on the solutions of the future to facilitate the digital transformation when it takes place.

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