Putting solar power into diesel based grids is easy but maximizing the share of solar is a real challenge. To save on diesel consumption, diesel has to be substituted by other energy sources. Solar energy is a cheap energy source but without intelligent system control it is hard to reach high solar shares in diesel grids. Uncontrolled solar energy feeding into a diesel grid can, even with a small share of solar, lower the diesel workload to a disadvantageous level in solar peak times causing inefficient operation of the diesel gensets, more frequent maintenance cycles and damage to the equipment. If too much solar generation capacity is installed, even reverse power into the generator is possible, which can cause a blackout in the best case scenario and equipment destruction in the worst case.
This article shows how the SMA Fuel Save Controller 2.0 (FSC-20) facilitates high solar shares in diesel based micro-grids and thereby saves diesel as well as money in a smart, flexible, safe and easy way with SMA supporting you whenever you need it.
The FSC-20 enables high shares of solar by controlling the solar inverter and battery storage power output in a way that solar shares of up to 90% of the load can be reached without negatively affecting grid stability or equipment health.
On the right is an example of an island power grid where FSC-20 lowers genset production as far as possible. For this system, it is 30% of the gensets nominal power. If more solar power is still available, it is then charged into a battery storage to shift it to the evening hours. And if even more solar power is at hand, it is curtailed by the FSC-20 to ensure stable system operation.
Even more, the FSC-20 can use solar inverters and battery storage to provide reactive power – during the day as well as at night – to keep the grid stable and to optimize genset efficiency.
The FSC-20 optimizes power flows within the grid. While optimization works to achieve the highest possible solar share, the FSC-20 puts grid stability first. The FSC-20 knows about limitations and constraints within the System so it is always able to operate the system safely and with a maximum of cost saving.
In as early as the development stage, all functions are extensively tested in system simulations. Each software release is tested under real-life conditions on SMAs hybrid power systems test facility which allows for testing under real power flows of up to 5MW.
In addition to continuous simulations and tests, the FSC-20 has proven safe operation in more than 120 sites worldwide.
The FSC-20 is incredibly flexible in how it measures the system’s power sources such as solar, generators and loads – flexible in terms of the number of measurement points as well as flexible in terms of the measurement location due to remote measurement units (data acquisition boxes) that may be located in a distance of up to 20 kilometers. When measurement is not applicable or too expensive, the FSC-20 can calculate points in the grid deriving from known measurements. In this way the FSC-20 can be easily integrated into nearly all diesel based grids out of the box. It is able to integrate photovoltaics of nearly any size and is also able to integrate battery storage into the diesel grid to reduce the spinning reserve and to shift energy.
Easy to Use
While the control functions within the FSC-20 are complex and weather as well as loads can change grid conditions within seconds, the FSC-20 is exceptionally easy to operate as it, once set up, operates on its own.
A web-based graphical user interface can be used to set up the FSC-20 and to view the grid status and energy flows. Details can be examined down to each individual device in the system. Live display of the energy flows helps optimize the system and provides insight into the inner workings of the system.
The FSC-20 provides a modbus interface to integrate the itself as well as the complete solar and battery subsystem into any SCADA solution. The available data points range from aggregated site values representing the overall system view and again down to data points for each individual system device.
For long term system surveillance, the FSC-20 records system power values and detects warnings and errors in logfiles that can be downloaded from an integrated FTP server.
Equipped with these easy yet powerful possibilities for monitoring and interaction, it’s easy to add the FSC-20 to any existing system management solution.
Great Sales Support, Training and Service
With subsidiaries in 20 countries, SMA has experienced hybrid system designers and commissioning engineers all over the world. This makes it easy to find a perfect hybrid design for your grid and to get it up and running quickly and seamlessly.
Once the Fuel Save Solution is in operation, an experienced service team helps whenever there are issues on site. The FSC-20 offers the possibility of a permanent VPN connection to SMA Service, so if any problems occur, we can provide lightning fast support helping to minimize outages.
To ease installation, set up and operation, the SMA Solar Academy offers training courses for commissioning engineers as well as system operators. With these trainings, your employees gain the theoretical background in how to design a Fuel Save Solution and to understand the functions. They will also learn how to handle the Fuel Save Solution in daily operation. The practical parts of the training take place at SMAs hybrid power systems test facility.
You can find all of our blog posts on the Fuel Save Solution here. It is a great source of information if you are interested in saving fuel or planning to integrate solar energy into your grid.
Do you have comments or questions? Great! Just use the comment field below. We look forward to receiving your comments and we will answer each question as best as we can.
You can find even more details on the Fuel Save Solution Product Website.
If you would like our experts to help you lay out your own Fuel Save Solution, justsend us an email at FuelSaveSolution@sma.de
I am Project Manager for our SMA Fuel Save Solution. Together with my great team I care for bringing solar energy into the most remote parts of the world
Energy management on electrical islands - in water as well as in sand