Load control from ripple control to "Smart-all"

Ripple control systems are an intelligent load management solution for energy savings. Households and companies around the world like to use them. ZPA Smart Energy is a leading manufacturer of this technology. You will also take a fancy to these modern ripple control receivers, boasting high quality and innovative features.

Why do we need
to control the load?

More changes have taken place in the Czech energy industry in the last 20 years than since its beginning, when a linen weaving mill in Moravská Třebová was illuminated with arc lamps in 1878. The original binary model of a single supplier and its consumers is collapsing, as the current development of the use of renewable resources in many cases creates a new, additional supplier from the original sole consumer. Therefore, the need for source control and load control is ever present and is significantly shifting to the low voltage level as well.

Early days of ripple control receiver production

The ripple control system is common in many countries around the world (e.g. USA, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, etc., including the African continent). ZPA Smart Energy a.s. has been manufacturing ripple control receivers since the early days of the technology. Ripple control systems expanded in the former Czechoslovakia the 1950s.

The receiver initially consisted of electromechanical relays. Thanks to the in-house development department, the first transistor receiver was introduced in 1968, followed by a microprocessor receiver in 1990. Modern ripple control receivers support all known communication protocols and control frequencies used throughout the world. They also have self-learning and analytical functions for reliable operation in the event of a transmitter failure.

Where are we today?

In 2001, ZPA Smart Energy launched an electricity meter with an integrated ripple control receiver. This was gradually replaced by a switching program, loaded in the meter. This was particularly advantageous for the need to adjust switching times when the rates or suppliers change.

The next development step was the disconnection of the consumer when contracted power consumption exceeds the contracted power, which was made possible thanks to the power disconnecting element in the meter body, controlled by a programmable limiter. Countries with insufficient electricity resources have especially achieved more continuous and uniform patterns of distribution.

We don’t say “it can’t be done” until we’ve exhausted all options.

Martin Hák – Production Director

What do we expect for the future?

The advantages of the previous solutions logically led to the development of a new external control element, controlled by an electricity meter. Thus, the load can be controlled at the level of a specific metering point, and at the same time it is not necessary to replace the electricity meter due to the installation of a small generator.

Such a device communicates securely with the electricity meter and controls other elements in the distribution system, either by mechanical contact or via a separate bus. This can, for example, disconnect the boiler in times of energy shortages, reduce the charging current of an electric car and allow unlimited production of photovoltaic panels. Everything will be a part of the smart home system through the customer interface.

Thanks to the control at the metering point level, optimal utilisation of energy resources will be achieved, resulting in reduced costs of the operation of resources and the system. This opens the way for providing benefits to responsible participants with the possibility of greater comfort.