Monitoring the microgrid

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You may have noticed a new feature on the CAT blog: in the column on the right hand side, a dial shows how much energy CAT is generating on-site from its solar, wind and hydro generators. The data comes from the micro grid system at CAT, which Trystan Lea has been working on in association with CAT for the last 3 months. Below, he writes about the project.

This dial is a small part of a much larger microgrid monitoring and display project that we have been working on at CAT. We’ll be making more of this microgrid energy information available on the web soon, but in the meantime if you’re visiting CAT you can see the full display on the visitor circuit next to the control room.

The visitor circuit display shows how much energy CAT is generating and using both in real-time and historically, through interactive graphs. There are pages that explore the performance of the generators (hydro, solar, wind and biomass); a real-time diagram shows how energy flows around the microgrid; a page shows how much energy CAT is using including the proportion of renewable energy coming from onsite renewables or offsite renewables via the national grid, and a page explores how much CO2 equivalent CAT has saved by generating energy from renewables.

One of the notable things about the display is that it’s open source. The software and some of the hardware behind the display was developed as part of a collaborative project called the OpenEnergyMonitor project which I started in early 2009.

The OpenEnergyMonitor project is a project to develop and build open-source energy monitoring, control and analysis tools for energy efficiency and renewable generation. We’ve got a growing online community of more than 450 users.

The project has documentation for building home energy monitors, solar hot water controllers, PV and wind monitoring – to name just a few. We also have a DIY energy monitoring kit available for the main system if you’re interested in getting practical with a soldering iron.

To find out more visit the website here: