The SMA Export Limitation System Or: How to Reduce Costs with Commercial PV Plants

This post was originally published in 2016. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

You can now install all the PV you need, without extra costs to reinforce the connection to the electricity grid. How? With an SMA Export Limitation System.

Export limitation is controlling the amount of power from a PV installation that is exported to the electricity grid. It is especially useful for companies who have a high power demand during certain times. When the power demand is lower, the system will limit the amount of generated power so it does not flow to the grid.

 

SMA Export Limitation system

The SMA Export Limitation system is a sophisticated yet simple to implement way of managing the amount of exported power. The system requires the SMA Cluster Controller, the SMA Energy Meter and compatible SMA inverters. The Cluster Controller controls the export power based on data received from the SMA Energy Meter and the inverter(s). When necessary, the Cluster Controller can tell the inverters to limit their production. The system meets all requirements for performance and safety.

 

The benefits

With the SMA Export Limitation system, owners can reduce electricity costs without extra investments to reinforce the connection to the electricity grid. They can install the full capacity of PV that their location can support, without exceeding the Distribution Network Operator’s (DNO) limitation. The PV installation will never export more than the allowed power onto the grid so there are no extra costs for upgrading the grid infrastructure and the DNO does not have to worry about an extra burden on the grid. The SMA export limitation system has been extensively tested and has proved that it meets all requirements for safety and performance. Besides being technically advanced and reliable, the system is easy to use as well. The installation and set-up are basically plug-and-play.

 

The first project with SMA Export Limitation System: the Regilbury Dairy Farm near Bristol

The first project with SMA Export Limitation System: the Regilbury Dairy Farm near Bristol

First installation a success

In October 2015 the SMA Export Limitation system was put to the test for the first time in the UK. Regilbury Farm, a dairy farm near Bristol, required a PV installation with export limitation. They wanted to place an installation of 50 kWp, while the grid was limited to 11 KVA. As SMA has solutions for both, we were very happy to work together with SolarSense and the DNO for the installation and witness test of the system. Both the end user and the installer were very pleased with the results. So was the DNO, they had extensive demands for export limitation and the SMA system met them all.

 

Find out more about the SMA Export Limitation system and test case on our website

www.SMA-UK.com.

 

16 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Samui Service Co., Ltd says:

    Bonjour Madame,

    I need exactly this for two STP15000TL.
    Where can I have specs and where can I buy that (we are located in Thailand).

    Merci pour la reponse
    Claude Feller

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Mike De Viliers says:

    Hi,

    My Meter counts double times if it senses excess energy going out; it’s not a 2-way meter.
    So will this SMA Export Limitation System work for me?
    I am exactly looking to block this excess energy going through my meter.

    Rgds,
    Mike

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Sarah Römsch says:

      Hi Mike,
      thanks for your question. Unfortunately, we can’t help you without having more details. Where are you from? Please contact the Service Line for your Country. They are happy to assist you.
      The best thing would be if you use the Energy Meter (if possible).

      Regards,
      Sarah

      Reply
  3. Avatar
    Rodrigo Rodrigues says:

    Hi gentleman,

    I have a question regarding Exporting limit provided by the Sunny Home Manager 2.0 working with a SB tripower. How does it work, in conjunction with a tripower, if the 3 phases are not balanced? What I want to know is, does this system setting (SHM+Tripower) works by each phase separately or only by the smaller consumption phase, limiting the other two in the same amount? Does the sunny tripower always output the same power on each phase (if DC power available on the modules) or just the necessary amount per phase regulated by the SHM with zero % export configured? and if not, if is regulated by need, how much % of the total power of the inverter can output on a single phase?

    thank you in advance for the response, my PV system that I’m configuring is dependent of this response.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rößler
      Jennifer Rößler says:

      Hello Rodrigo,
      In Zero Export mode, the Sunny Home Manager ensures that the PV power currently generated by the inverters always matches the current power consumption of the household.
      If an active load/appliance in the household is switched off, the grid feed-in of excess PV power will automatically be reduced to a value less than 2% of nominal PV system power.

      For further information, please visit us at http://www.SMA.de or contact directly our Service Line. Our colleagues will be glad to assist further.

      Kind regards, Jennifer

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Rodrigo Rodrigues says:

        Thank you Jennifer for your response. Yes, that I understand. But my question was about that situation when Tripower was used with unbalanced phases. What is the behavior in this situation?

        Thank you in advance

      • Carolin Rost
        Carolin Rost says:

        Hello Rodrigo,
        The Tripower inverter generates power on all 3 phases. The power generation or a possibly consumption is recognized automatically by the internal energy meter and the generated power for example is added together over the 3 phases. However, the Sunny Home Manager 2.0 reduces feed-in of the generated inverter power at the grid-connection point. For the zero-export feature, however, it is not relevant if the phases are unbalanced.

        For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact your local installer or the Service Line in charge. Please visit us also at http://www.sma.de/ to find out more.
        Kind regards,
        Carolin

  4. Avatar
    Dorin Fleseriu says:

    Hello,

    Can I achieve zero export using a 10KW system with 2x STP5.03AV-40 and 1x SMA Energy Meter? Or I must use 1 x Home manager if I use more than 1 inverter? Thank you for response,

    Reply
    • Anke Baars
      Anke Baars says:

      Hi Dorin,
      The performance of the zero-export will be improved by using the Home Manager as a central manager, compared to having two inverters individually balancing using the Energy Meter. For this reason the Home Manager is recommended for your application.
      Kind regards,
      Anke

      Reply
  5. Avatar
    Jaco Strauss says:

    Dear Anke.
    Regarding zero export or limiting the export for an stp 50[core 1) will it be liabel to only use the sma energy meter or should I use the SMA 2.0 home manager with external current transformers 100/5 .I would prefer not to use a cluster controller due to the aditional costs and its only one stp50.
    Thank you in andvance

    Reply
    • Anke Baars
      Anke Baars says:

      Dear Jaco,
      For “Zero Export” it´s necessary to use Sunny Home Manager 2.0. The function to limit the export is neither integrated in the Core1 nor in the Energy Meter. So Sunny Home Manager is the best and cheapest solution. Please note: Cluster Controller is not available anymore, successor is the Data Manager M.
      Kind regards,
      Anke

      Reply
    • Annika Linke
      Annika Linke says:

      Hi Joey,
      In order to be able to help you, we need the serial numbers or the type designation of the inverters or data loggers installed.
      Kind regards, Annika

      Reply
  6. Avatar
    Praveen Kumar says:

    in SHP 75 model we need Home manager HM 20 for Zero export or we can do zero export with inverter Manager IM 20

    Reply

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