Fish farm or PV power plant?

2012-12-23 - One of the biggest problems facing a fish farm is how to prevent predatory birds from feeding on the fish. Loud noises and flashing lights are two methods of prevention. A more innovative one is a roof-top photovoltaic plant that protects the fish and earns the farm revenues.
By ABB Communications

The Mézos fish farm in southwestern France. Image courtesy of Groupe UNITe

Seen from the air – through the eyes of a bird - an expanse of water means fish, and fish mean food.

For a fish farm, predatory birds are a pest. They kill and damage the farm’s fish stocks. Perhaps the most effective and profitable way to protect the fish is to camouflage the water with a structure – like a photovoltaic power plant.

This is precisely what ABB has done at the Mézos fish farm in southwestern France.

The PV plant is owned by Soleil des Landes, a special purpose company, which sells the power to the grid operator, while providing the fish with the protection they need from predatory birds. It also provides the farm with revenues from renting the space above the water to Soleil des Landes.

ABB provided a complete balance of system solution for the PV power plant, including design, engineering, project management, installation and commissioning.

The solution comprises all the electrical and automation equipment - inverters, DC and AC cabinets, transformers, switchgear, cabling, equipment housing, control and SCADA with remote access, as well as system optimization to ensure a high yield despite the challenging surface dimensions of the water. ABB was also responsible for providing a substation that is engineered to meet the grid requirements of the local medium voltage transmission system.

ABB was awarded the order in June 2011, began site work in the same month, and commissioned the plant and the substation four months later in October. Rapid project execution was a key customer requirement to ensure qualification for a higher feed-in tariff that was then available for roof-top PV plants.

The farm is owned by Viviers de France, one of the country’s leading seafood and land-based fish farming companies. Soleil des Landes is part of Groupe UNITe.

ABB has a diverse portfolio of solutions for the entire solar power value chain. In addition to a comprehensive product and service offering for a range of applications, the company undertakes turnkey solutions for large-scale photovoltaic and solar thermal power plants. ABB has delivered more than 50 turnkey PV power plants worldwide.

Click here to open a special ‘solar power plant’ issue of ABB Power Generation’s customer newsletter, In Control.

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