Large solar farms need low voltage power for their support services like perimeter security & lighting, and weather monitoring equipment. Distributing the power from conventional sources can be expensive, complex, or impractical because of the large outdoor areas of these farms. Using the power from the solar panels is an obvious choice, but powering from the 800 – 1500V DC is difficult and often non-standard. In some systems, dedicated solar panels are used to generate power for the monitoring and security functions.
Existing technology has matured to the point where it has become economic to provide cost-effective power converters that are directly supplied from the string voltage. Using these for the low voltage applications eliminates the need for dedicated power distribution networks, reduces risk by removing single points of failure for the network, improves the network flexibility by making it easier to add power equipment, and ultimately lowers the installation and maintenance costs.
High voltage solutions require specialist design resources with experience in product safety, remote locations and certification requirements.