Reaping the desert sun

2012-12-18 - Leading edge electrical balance of plant equipment for Punj Lloyd’s solar plant in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan
Located in the heart of Rajasthan’s Thar Desert, 140 kilometers from Jodhpur, the village of Bap presents a vista of endless desolation marginally fragmented by a scattering of human habitation. Only the most persistent survive in the more or less perpetual environment of drought and acute scarcity.

In India, it is the state of Rajasthan that receives the most solar radiation, with the maximum daily temperature varying between 40-45 degrees celsius, and occasionally rocketing up to 49 degrees at the height of summer. It was in this environment of high irradiance that Punj Lloyd Solar Limited set up a 5 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant with its 80,000 solar modules stretching across more than 40 acres of barren wasteland. A feature peculiar to Bap is the virtually flat terrain that makes it a shadow-free area and therefore, the ideal location for generating solar power. In terms of environmental benefits, the Bap plant is expected to reduce carbon emissions up to 5,500 metric tonnes per year.

EBoP ensures balance of power

This was the first solar project executed by engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm, Punj Lloyd on a turnkey basis and it was commissioned in a record time of less than three months. This was due, in some part, to the optimization that ABB brought to systems and processes. Our innovative electrical balance of plant (EBoP) solution covers every electrical control and instrumentation system and each component in the power plant, leaving aside the generator and turbine. This includes a broad portfolio of products and solutions that provide a single source of supply from high voltage (HV) down to low voltage (LV).

We take responsibility for the complete EBoP package, from engineering, supply, manufacture and delivery, to site, installation, commissioning, testing and quality. Direct control over all engineering and project management functions enables ABB to ensure the best performance and quality of engineering workmanship and deliveries. It also makes us the single point of responsibility for inverter and all electrical works, allowing for a unified design philosophy for inverter and electrical throughout the project.

Additionally, our customer benefited from the premium quality of an original equipment manufacturer’s engineering services, precise control of main plant parameters, advanced diagnostics and monitoring and alarm analysis and performance calculations. Not only did this reduce lead time, it also delivered cost-benefits to our customer. ABB has supplied turnkey EBoP solutions to a wide variety of projects worldwide, resulting in similar benefits.

Experienced player in the solar field

From the early 1990s when we developed an automation platform for the world’s first test facility for concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies in Spain, we have been involved at a pioneering stage in just about every type of PV and CSP technology developed across the world − in Europe, North America, Australia, North Africa and the Middle East.

This unique expertise allows us to offer an electrical balance of plant solution which focuses on how best to harness, control and store solar energy and efficiently convert it into reliable electricity, ready for transfer into the local grid. Our offerings range from turnkey photovoltaic power plants to complete power and automation solutions for CSP plants and for PV installations, including complete design, engineering, supply, installation, commissioning and post-commissioning of the solar power plant.

What the future holds

Smart grids are the future and ABB is at the forefront in developing the technologies and solutions that will make possible the electrical transmission and distribution systems of the future. These systems will integrate traditional types of large-scale, centralized power generation with small-scale, localized types of renewable energy like solar and wind, creating a single optimized network with multi-directional power flows and real-time grid monitoring and market mechanisms.

Meanwhile, there are other customers like Punj Lloyd who have crossed the solar frontier with our strong support in EBoP. No matter how harsh the environment or how demanding the timelines we have delivered each and every time – helping to set up three 5 MW solar photovoltaic plants, two for Moserbaer Engineering and Construction Limited in Bolangir, Odisha and Bhilwara, Rajasthan and one for Moserbaer Photo Voltaic Limited in Tinvari, Rajasthan. We also helped Soma Enterprises Limited establish a 1 MW solar PV plant in Nangal, Punjab.

Just imagine
  • About one-third (33%) of the land’s surface area is covered by deserts
  • According to Professor David Faiman of Ben-Gurion University the technology now exists to supply the world’s entire electricity needs by using 10% of the Sahara Desert for solar farming
  • Desertec Industrial Initiative is investing in North African solar and wind installations over the next 40 years to supply electricity to Europe via cable lines running under the Mediterranean.

Our integrated offering:
Protection panels and 33 kV switchyard
Power transformers
Bus ducts
LV switchgear
Plant illumination
Earthing and lightning protection
LT and HT cabling system
MV switchgear
110 V DC system
Plant automation
String monitoring box
Junction box