A solar energy-based system is the latest innovation in the home UPS domain. The industry is consistently making attempts to adopt solar power, which will increase energy efficiency and save power, reducing the dependence on grid power
Monday, April 21, 2014: With the demand for home UPS systems increasing manifold, these products are continuously evolving to emerge with advanced features like digital signal processing (DSP), space vector modulation (SVM), etc, which make them more sustainable and reliable. UPS systems that use alternate sources of renewable energy are also being developed.
Currently, the typical home UPS systems available in the market are of the sine wave and quasi sine wave type. These are more advanced than the traditional digital home UPS systems. They offer pure output power, ensuring the long life of the appliances they are connected to. Some of the sine wave home UPS systems come with ‘no load’ conditions and are microcontroller-based.
The latest in the market
The new entrant in the market is the solar energy-compatible home UPS system. It offers an uninterrupted power backup solution by making maximum use of solar energy. It reduces the dependence on the mains and cuts down running costs as well. These UPS systems use both solar power and grid power to charge the batteries. The latest types of home UPS systems available in the market are more energy efficient, since saving electricity is the need of the hour.
Convergence Power Systems launched a home UPS system in January 2014—the heavy duty HSI series—and it is available in 3, 5 and 7.5 kVA in 48V DC. It can run up to two air conditioners simultaneously. “This UPS system can be used at home as well as in industries. With 48V DC, fewer batteries are required. This system is the first of its kind in India, in this capacity,” says Sree Kumar, director, sales and marketing, Convergence Power Systems.
Microtek International has launched its E²+ super energy efficient series of UPS systems. This series has been introduced recently with high grade components and technologies, in addition to features like IPS (intelligent power saving) technology, which saves extra electricity and makes the series ‘super’ energy efficient, claims Sunil Jain, creative director, Microtek International Pvt Ltd.
Aplab’s latest home UPS system has a peak efficiency greater than 90 per cent, according to company sources. The product is solar-ready and directly connects with an IEC (intelligent embedded controller), which provides MPPT control and reduces power losses in solar cabling by more than 90 per cent, the company claims. “The uniqueness of the product is that whether it works on mains power, solar power or on batteries, it involves no extra cost nor the requirement for an additional battery charger,” says Nishith Deodhar, managing director, Aplab Ltd.
Genus Power Infrastructures’ existing hybrid solar UPS system, Genus SunPort, which was launched in June 2013, ranges from 250 W to 8 KW. It has features such as a highly advanced DSP-based auto intelligent control circuit (AISC), delivering 100 per cent pure sine wave, and ensuring round-the-clock protection to appliances, the company claims. “Unlike traditional home UPS systems, SunPort is a futuristic design, based on DSP technology. This UPS system intelligently distributes solar power between battery and load, ensuring maximum energy efficiency. Drawing solar energy is its first preference and it uses grid power only when solar energy is insufficient to meet the battery charging requirements. Customers can also choose the solar PV panel sizes as per their requirements, reducing the cost of the complete package,” says Rajiv Satoor, president, Genus Power Infrastructures.
UpsINVERTER.com’s Sun Pack home UPS system was launched in November 2013. It comes with inbuilt solar functionality. This solar hybrid home UPS system uses both solar power and grid power to charge the batteries, leaving it to consumers to use it in the way they want to – either as a solar home UPS system or as a normal one. However, the system selects solar power first while charging and discharging. “Sun Pack is the only solar home UPS system available in the market at such a low price in comparison to the other brands,” says Yogesh Dua, director, upsINVERTER.com (UTL).
Base Batteries offers a pure sine wave digital UPS system, which is a user friendly backup solution for homes. “This high performance, advanced DSP-based pure sine wave digital UPS system has been brought to India by Base. It has the capability to provide longer periods of backup with an adequate variable charging current. The BT series of digital UPS systems is available with a graphic LED display. It has an advanced digital signal processor to control the input and output parameters automatically,” says Aditya Arora, COO, Base Batteries.
In this continuously evolving market, consumers are flooded with a wide variety of home UPS systems. Companies are trying their best to come up with new technologies that are energy efficient. The solar energy-based system is the latest innovation in the UPS domain. Industry giants are consistently attempting to adopt solar power as it will reduce the dependence on grid power.
The latest home UPS systems today are designed with more efficiency, low watt loss and longer backups, which results in longer life of the products.
“Home UPS systems are more advanced today because of new technologies like AVR that provide pure sine wave output; now, solar functionality is also available,” says Yogesh Dua.
Citing similar views, Rajiv Satoor adds, “Home UPS systems are definitely technologically more advanced when compared to the traditional power backup systems. Earlier, users had to use separate systems for their home and computer loads. Today’s home UPS systems enable users to also run sensitive loads, i.e., computers, televisions, etc, thus completely eliminating the need of separate power backup systems. In short, they are the perfect products for a modern home.”
Says Nishith Deodhar, “The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) recently carried out a survey, which estimated that the country will save 400 MW of power if the efficiency of UPS systems is increased to 80 per cent. A plan to introduce a star efficiency rating system is also being proposed. Aplab’s products not only meet these requirements but exceed them and are also solar ready.”
Similarly, Genus Power Infrastructures’ SunPort has an integrated solar charge controller and a grid charger, with solar priority. “It is a reliable green product with advanced features like the energy saver mode, a user-selectable UPS/normal mode switch, remote monitoring through an SNMP module, etc. Its DSP technology intelligently distributes solar power between battery and load, ensuring maximum energy efficiency. The UPS uses grid power only when solar power and the battery are insufficient to meet the load requirement,” says Rajiv Satoor.
Adds Yogesh Dua, “Sun Pack’s operating logic for charging is highly advanced. Its first priority for charging the battery is through solar power; the second priority is the sharing option and only if solar power is not enough, is the remaining charging done through grid power.”
Convergence Power Systems’ UPS system has a microprocessor-based design with complete electronics and static protection. It is entirely designed and manufactured in India; hence, it is capable of withstanding Indian power demands.
Microtek International’s UPS system comes with a switch to select the battery mode and delivers equal performance with all types of available batteries. “It comes with zero power switching (ZPS) technology that ensures zero loss of energy when switching from DC to AC. It charges the battery faster on high charging mode (14A ± 1A) without increasing its temperature, thus giving longer backup periods even during the long power cuts experienced in rural areas,” said Sunil Jain of Microtek International.
Base Batteries’ sine wave digital UPS system comes with a CC/CV (constant current/constant voltage) charger with the ASIC feature and auto trickle mode to reduce water topping, which further enhances battery life. It is equipped with enhanced installation protection (which means that the unit will not switch on if there is any faulty condition in the unit or site during installation), intelligent thermal management with the temperature control feature and advanced overload management with auto retries. The overload shutdown timing depends upon the load per cent. For example, if the load is >101 per cent to 110 per cent, the system shuts down after 20 seconds; and if it is >110 per cent to 150 per cent, the system shuts down after 10 seconds.
Customers need to keep certain parameters in mind while buying a home UPS system. They should be clear about what purpose they are buying the system for. Very often, people get confused between a UPS system and a home UPS system. Buyers should be aware of how much load they want the system to support, how much back-up time they require and the features that would add value to their purchase, such as inbuilt AVR, solar compatibility, etc.
Buyers should consider the overall efficiency of the home UPS system, that is, consider the efficiency of both the battery charger and the inverter. “Customers looking to upgrade in the future should consider a solar-ready UPS system, as it does not require purchasing a separate battery charger,” says Nishith Deodhar.
Customers should always choose a sine wave home UPS system, preferably with DSP-based technology, over a digital home UPS system, as it increases the longevity of the appliances and has a purer output compared to other available sine wave home UPS systems. This also reduces the humming sound from tube lights and fans, which is a common problem. Other features that need to be checked are as follows.
Load requirement: The total load requirement needs to be understood before selecting a home UPS system, that is, the maximum load the buyer wants to run and the minimum load that will run when the mains are unavailable. By knowing the maximum and minimum requirements, the buyer can select a system with the right capacity. For example, sometimes buyers assume that they will need a UPS system to support the entire load in their homes, while there is no actual need to run the whole load. A limited load, of just lights and fans, is all they require. Hence, a smaller capacity home UPS system can be purchased, thus saving a lot of money.
Backup time required: Once the buyers understand the load, the backup time requirement needs to be ascertained. This helps to choose the right capacity for the battery and can result in a huge saving. The backup time requirement can be determined based on the total black-out periods during a day, the frequency of power cuts, etc. Therefore, for lower backup needs, a battery with a lower capacity can be selected. Also, one should always go for a renowned brand.
Application/type of load: Home UPS systems are generally recommended for household applications like tubelights, CFLs, fans, TVs, computers, room coolers, refrigerators, etc. For loads other than these, a higher capacity UPS system or inverter should be chosen.
After sales service: It is very important to choose the right brand. The service network of the brand determines the time taken to service a UPS system. There are several brands that also offer AMCs (annual maintenance contracts) with the product. The AMC helps customers to save money once the warranty period is over.
upsINVERTER.com’s (UTL) Sun Pack home UPS system
• First preference to solar power over grid power
• Uses solar power to charge the batteries
Aplab’s home UPS system
• Directly connects with IEC (intelligent embedded controller) that provides MPPT control
• Reduces power loss in solar cabling by over 90 per cent
Genus Power Infrastructures’ home UPS system
• Integrated with an in-built solar charge controller (PWM/MPPT-based)
• Superior energy efficient mode ensures the maximum use of solar power over the grid/mains power
• Reliable, best-in-class protection from overload, short circuits, high temperatures, etc
• UPS/normal mode selector switch that enables customers to use computer and lighting load at the same time
• Automatic power factor correction
• Remote monitoring through SNMP module
Base Batteries’ SQ series of pure sine wave digital UPS systems
• Supports both computers and lights
• Graphic LED display
• Wide input operating range
• Smart charger that automatically senses battery levels
• Switchable charging current • Smart overload sensor with auto reset
• Programmed inbuilt fan with thermal protection
Convergence Power Systems’ HS I series of UPS systems
• Available in 48V DC
• Requires fewer batteries
Microtek International’s E²+ super energy efficient series of UPS systems
• Charging current selection switch (14A±1A/10A±1A)
• Zero power switching technology ensures zero loss of energy when switching from DC to AC.
• Digital fuzzy logic charging technology – the system judges the condition of the battery and sets the charging voltage and charging current as per the requirement, during conversion from AC to DC, thus saving energy while charging the battery
• Intelligent thermal management for longer life and higher reliability
Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine