Power conditioning system is broad umbrella term and is used to define an electrical equipment, or power electronics. It's used to convert power from a renewable energy system like a solar Photovoltaic system into a form suitable for subsequent or later use.
Why is it used?
PCS processes the electricity produced by a photovoltaic system. Thus, it can meet the specific and fluctuating demands of the load.
What it consists of?
Power conditioning system provides an integrated system consisting of:
A solar charge controller
An inverter and
A Grid charger
These three systems continuously monitor the state of battery voltage, solar output and the load.
How it Works?
In PCS there is an option to charge the battery bank through either a Solar or Grid/DG set. The working is designed in such a way that if the battery voltage drops down, the PCS will automatically transfer the load to the Grid/DG power and also charge simultaneously. The design of the power conditioning system is such that it gives preference to the solar power and withdraws from Grid and/or DG power only when the solar power / battery charger is unable to meet the load requirement.
Most power conditioners have these functions:
Limit current and voltage to maximize power output
Convert DC power to AC
Match the converted AC electricity to a utility's electrical network
Have safeguards that protect utility personnel and the network from harm during repairs
Other Important Things
Power conditioning equipment is an important component of the balance-of-system. Specific requirements of power conditioners depend on the type of PV system they are used with and the applications of that system. For DC applications, power conditioning is often done with regulators, which control output at some constant level of voltage and current to maximize output. For AC loads, power conditioning must include an inverter that converts the direct current generated by the PV array into alternating current. This understanding is important because many simple devices, ones that run on batteries, use DC electricity. On the other hand AC electricity, which is generated by utilities, is needed to run most modern appliances and electronic devices.
Power Conditioning System And Inverter: How are they related?
The term Power conditioning system (PCS) is interchangeably used with the term inverter in power sector. An inverter does the basic DC to AC conversion and there are other additional functions that are done by the so-called Power Conditioning Unit. The PCS/ inverters, beyond AC to DC conversion, as a unit can implement an MPPT mechanism before inverting the voltage. Thus ensuring that the PV modules or arrays are operating at their maximum power. Furthermore, the inverter/PCS can include a battery charger, a DC-to-DC converter for voltage step-up and step-down. Also, a transformer for grid isolation and voltage step-up.