UK Power Networks adopts ABB’s innovative PASS M0 high-voltage switchgear to connect new solar farms

Ultra-compact and flexible PASS M0 switchgear modules will provide the 132 kilovolt (kV) grid connections for solar farms generating up to 50 megawatt (MW)
ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, is supplying its innovative PASS M0 hybrid switchgear modules to provide the main grid connection points for a number of new solar photovoltaic (PV) farms that will feed into UK Power Networks’ 132 kV transmission network in the East of England.

One of the first PASS M0 installations will be for the Leicester Square PV farm (Hempton Grid) in Norfolk.
UK Power Networks, the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) serving London, the South East and East of England is now offering 132 kV connections for major new solar farms, typically producing up to 50 MW, to help spread the demand on its 11 kV and 33 kV networks. Following a stringent review process, it has adopted ABB’s PASS M0 for these projects due to its unique hybrid design that uses traditional air-insulated busbars to connect with other equipment in the substation, while the main bay functions are enclosed in a gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) housing to create an extremely compact installation footprint.
Using the PASS M0 modules not only saves space on site, they provide a fast-track solution, as they are supplied as completely pre-fabricated, pre-wired and pre-tested units. This reduces the need for civil works such as foundations, steel work and cabling trenching as only one foundation base is now required, while previously multiple foundations and steel structures were needed for each element.
The pass M0 design has full Energy Networks Association (ENA) approval and is rated up to 170 kV. It integrates all the necessary substation switchgear bay functions, including a circuit breaker, one or more combined disconnector/earthing switches, bushings for connection to single or double busbar systems and a current transformer (CT) in one compact module, eliminating the need for separate pieces of equipment for each function.
A key advantage of the PASS M0 is its flexibility of configuration that facilitates the use of various combinations of busbar and cable connections to suit different site needs. Furthermore, the PASS M0 integrates high quality tariff code CTs and VTs (voltage transformers) that enable UK Power Networks to use it as a metering breaker to measure the quantity of power fed into its grid.
The PASS M0 modules are being installed at a number of new solar farms in the eastern region of UK Power Networks’ operating area, which includes parts of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. For some projects they will be supplied directly by ABB to UK Power Networks, in others they will be purchased by ICPs (Independent Connection Providers) who are creating grid connections on behalf of solar farm developers.