Delivering energy to the growing global community efficiently and reliably is one of the major challenges of the coming decade. This challenge presents many opportunities with the evolution of the smart grid, which evolved as a result of this need for a more advanced power delivery mechanism.

The original grid consisted of generation at a power plant using traditional fossil fuels such as coal or nuclear energy. The energy generated from the centralized power plants was transported vast distances through a series of transmission and distribution (T&D) networks until it eventually reached the customer. This unidirectional energy flow is not viable in the 21st century because power generation is not centralized; it is distributed with more worldwide energy coming from renewable sources such as solar and wind power.

Furthermore, advances in communication technology, both wired and wireless, are being built into the modern grid. This communication feature leads to what we call a "smart grid." However, obstacles stand in the way of smart grid implementation. These obstacles include evolving standards, rock-solid reliability requirements, security, a low cost implementation, and two-way communication for real-time transmission.

Designing smart grid automation equipment and renewable energy sources, such as solar inverter systems for the smart energy ecosystem, is far from simple. This is where Altera® FPGAs play a vital role. With a single Altera FPGA or SoC, you can better meet evolving standards for your design while increasing performance and scalability demands for  mission-critical system functions like the control loop, grid communications, network redundancy, and security.

Altera FPGAs for Your Smart Energy Applications

Scalable Platform on a Single FPGA

A smart energy system using a single Altera FPGA provides a scalable platform that supports diverse needs. You can design with our MAX 10® FPGA, Cyclone® V FPGA, and Cyclone V SoC families to deliver the performance, flexibility, and cost savings that your design needs. An FPGA -based system gives you:

  • Flexibility: Change system functionality and reconfigure the platform.
  • Performance: Enable hardware acceleration of complex control algorithms with optimized DSP technology.
  • Design integration: Mixed-system fabric to support both FPGA design flow and embedded processing (C code) requirements.
  • Lower cost: Lower costs and power consumption for sealed systems with fewer components, increasing system reliability.
  • Longevity: Support more than 15-year average product life cycle.

Altera FPGAs allow you to leverage multiple processor architectures, such as the Nios® II embedded soft processor or the more powerful dual-core ARM® Cortex™-A9 MPCore™ hard processor. Additionally, our IP for smart grid applications and an integrated development tool flow support both FPGA hardware and software development.