With SMA’s Fuel Save Solution for large industrial applications, PV can be easily and efficiently integrated into diesel grids. The Sunny Tripower and Sunny Central inverters convert the direct current from PV modules into alternating current and feed it into power supply systems. The SMA Fuel Save Controller manages PV feed-in and the diesel genset remains unaffected. The result: An achievement up to 60 percent of PV capacity compared to installed genset capacity.
In the following we present the three common system designs of the SMA Fuel Save Solution.
1. Grid and PV connected hybrid system including a genset backup supply: Cotton Mill, Palladam, India
Daily power outages lasting several hours are commonplace in India’s federal state Tamil Nadu. For this reason, the cotton mill Alpine Knits located in Palladam, had been using diesel gensets to ensure a reliable power supply for their production site – and simply accepted the exorbitant operation expenses resulting from the fuel consumption of the gensets. To reduce their energy bill, the cotton mill operators decided to invest in a PV diesel hybrid system with the photovoltaic system placed on the rooftop of the factory workshop. Since June 2012 the SMA Fuel Save Solution ensures reliable operation even when the grid fails. As the intelligent interface between PV system and diesel gensets, the Fuel Save Controller ensures a highly available and efficient power supply. During peak production hours, the PV system provides approximately 60 percent of the total power demand of the mill – regardless of utility grid availability.
2. Grid and PV connected hybrid system including a genset main supply: Mine, Thabazimbi, South Africa
Thabazimbi is a sparsely populated region in the South African province of Limpopo characterized by mines. The power distribution grid is far away, grid connection is limited, and transport of diesel fuel is expensive. With a high amount of solar irradiation, the region is ideally suited for the use of PV energy. Since November 2012, a PV system with a power of one megawatt has complemented the existing diesel energy main supply at a chrome ore mine. As the key component of the SMA Fuel Save Solution the SMA Fuel Save Controller manages the PV feed-in and ensures the controlling of the solar and diesel generators according to load and generation profiles.
The Tongan island chain Vava’u is now profiting from its perfect solar conditions with more than 1,500 hours of sunshine annually. A photovoltaic diesel hybrid system with the SMA Fuel Save Solution went into operation in Vava’u in November 2013 with the goal of saving diesel fuel and thereby minimizing costs and CO2 emissions. The 500 kW hybrid PV farm with 1,680 PV modules and 21 SMA Sunny Tripowers was fully integrated into the existing diesel network and provides almost 70 percent of Vava’u’s energy demands at noon.
Stella has worked at SMA as student assistant and wrote about remote regions and special solar projects.