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Advanced design & operation of large pv power plants.

This project aims to
*develop advanced control systems of future photovoltaic power plants (pvpps),
*improve the reliability and economics by development of automated o&m practices and
* improve grid integration by advancing forecasting and control mechanisms to fulfil the future grid codes

the context of promoting a new energy balance in the energy mix, renewable energy sources, in particular photovoltaic energy, are clearly destined to further penetrate the energy market. In order to provide efficient, reliable and sustainable electricity distribution, the energy industry will have to implement technical and economical solutions compatible with the constraints of large-scale integration, especially in weak grids, more demanding grid codes and energy management at different levels of the network. The aim of the project will be focused on four main areas: a) Advanced Operation and Maintenance Tools for PV Plants • Development of a Continuous Commissioning plant monitoring system in order to evaluate daily the performance of all plant devices and identify losses due to failures or ambient/grid conditions that enables to follow manufacturer warranties. • Develop an automated thermal imaging tool with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to perform automatic audit in large surface PV fields. • Development of on-site Electroluminescence measurement and analysis tools. b) Managed Grid Connected PV plants • Development of an advanced commercial PVPP control which can regulate the delivery of active and reactive power • Integration of advanced solar radiation forecasting techniques in the plant control to improve integration into the system • Integration of energy storage systems for PV Plant Management and Grid Integration c) Monitoring and Characterization of PV technologies in desert environments • Evaluation of the impact of desert and semi-desert climate conditions in PV plants energy production, operation and degradation of the different components • Minimize the evaluated impact through preventive and corrective strategies including module cleaning techniques c) Financial viability, risk analysis and business models for PVPP • Develop Business models that take into account different markets conditions and regulations. • Analyse financial viability of on-grid and off-grid PV plants to substitute diesel consumption including the potential of electric energy storage. In order to achieve all these goals an international collaborative R&D Project is proposed among companies and R&D institutes from Spain and SA. The activities to be made in Spain and SA have strong links and although they can be developed in an independent way, both are part of the same overall solution and therefore require collaboration. The partners will use Sishen PVPP in SA in order to test (practically or by using data from the plant) some of the developed controls tools and theoretical algorithms for new controls that compromise storage as a solution to comply with advanced Grid Codes. This PVPP is located in the municipality of Dibeng, in Northern Cape Province (in the south-west of the country). Building work started in 2013 and will be completed in 2014. Hence, a control system will be obtained that could be used in others PVPP, either for new plants or existing ones, and that will enable the plant to provide ancillary services to the grid. This means a technology breakthrough that will enable PVPP to actively contribute to grid stability and security at the same time that maximizes daily production. PV modules in different locations will be tested in the field in order to understand their behaviour in the extreme real conditions, one will be SA and other will be defined based on the preliminary characterization of the elements with impact in the module performance according to the climate. This will also allow studying how to deal with degradation that affects to installed PV modules. The tasks to be made in Spain aim at developing the most advanced SCADA system for the PVPP; NMMU will provide inputs about SA PV regulations and market opportunities for the tool in further PV plants. Researchers involved in the project will get expertise about PV design and management of PV plants by using this advanced tool that reflects more than 15 years of experience of Acciona in this field. In fact, there is no such a solution for plant energy evaluation and control integrated in a single platform that includes: • Operations & Maintenance (O&M) tool for energy analysis and O&M management • Weather forecasting • Energy management (including energy storage) • Control of PV inverters for Grid integration compliance In order to achieve the best functionality it is important to refer it to characterisation work to be developed by the project in SA • Part of the required monitoring work to be carried out once the PV plant is in operation refers to PV module failure characterization. This is planned as a joint development between the team in Spain and SA as it is linked to the experience and activities of both groups and the results will be reflected in the results of both parts of the project. • Joint monitoring of plant operation using the different solutions will produce relevant information for all parties.
Acronym: 
ADVANCED-PV
Project ID: 
9 929
Start date: 
15-07-2015
Project Duration: 
30months
Project costs: 
1 690 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.