Seizing the solar initiative in sunny Gujarat

2012-11-28 - Gujarat is transforming into a major solar hub, with a projected yield of 1000 MW by 2013. ABB is partner to solar projects across the state, demanding the best in technology and quality
Infrastructure conglomerate, Adani Group, commissioned a 40 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Bitta in Gujarat’s Bhuj district in December 2011. The plant marks Adani Group’s foray into the renewable energy sector and was commissioned in a record time of five months. Over 4 lakh thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules are mounted on approximately 21,700 mounting structures to generate 40 MW electricity. The Group also envisions setting up another 100 MW solar power plant in the future, as a further commitment towards clean and green energy. Currently, the power generated from this solar plant is connected to Netra substation in the same district.

For ABB this was one of the biggest solar substation orders in India. The scope included supply, erection and commissioning of a 66 kilovolt (kV) switchyard with two 66/11 kV, 25/31.5 mega volt amperes (MVA) power transformers, 11 kV medium voltage indoor switchgear, 10 two-way ring main units (RMU) and 18 three-way RMUs. Dhinesh D, Project Manager for the Power Systems division, ABB in India said, “Meeting the rigorous parameters set by the customer, within the short time frame specified, proved to be a tremendous challenge. Despite this, we were able to deliver all products, from transformers to RMUs, on time. The solid support of our supply chain and divisions and the overall coordination of effort was critical to the successful execution of this project.”

ABB is also executing 765 kV projects for Adani Group in other locations; in Tiroda, Koradi and Akola.The Group’s entry into the solar space was greatly facilitated by Gujarat Government’s policies and the preferential tariff regime established to encourage participation of developers in this priority area. This initiative by the Government of Gujarat has set an example at the national level. Gujarat’s solar capacity today corresponds to two-thirds of the installed capacity of the entire nation.

Rajesh Power Services Private Limited, part of the Siddhi group of companies based in Gujarat, decided to diversify as a renewable power producer as recently as 2010, when the company signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Gujarat Government and the state electricity board, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL). The very first project that was awarded to them was the setting up and commissioning of a 1 MW photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in Surendranagar, roughly 100 kilometers from Ahmedabad.

The company commissioned the plant ahead of schedule. Efficient delivery depends on the reliability that an established partner can provide. ABB's quick reaction in delivering two PVS 800, 500 kilowatts (kW) solar inverters and one 1,250 kilovolt ampere (kVA) solar compact substation (CSS) from our manufacturing facility in Nashik, helped our customer to make good on the commitment to deliver, not just on time, but well before the deadline. Given the tight schedule, our team showed exemplary speed and commitment towards delivering to this small turnkey project.

Karan Dangayach, who heads business development at Rajesh Power, spoke about the company’s aspirations, “Our first priority will be to build on our strength as an EPC contractor. The solar power sector in India is witnessing dynamic growth. More and more solar power developers are looking for reliable EPC partners, in fact, we have already secured 10 MW worth of business in 2012 and we are only halfway through the year.”

ABB works closely with companies which have interests in renewable power and clean energy and offers products and solutions to reduce the environmental impact of energy systems. We manufacture and supply a broad range of high quality products for the solar power market, suitable for a wide range of applications, from the smallest residential building to large power plants.

Canal-top solar PV plant, Chandrasan

About 25 kilometers from the city of Ahmedabad is a strange sight − instead of water sparkling in the distributary canal, blue solar panels stretch as far as the eye can see. The one-kilometer canal-top solar farm has transformed the lives of people who farm along the Narmada canal.
In the canal, water is lost through evaporation and the action of the wind. Algae clogs the motors of irrigation pumps. The one megawatt (MW) Narmada Solar Energy Plant project was awarded to SunEdison with a mandate to provide solar power and conserve canal water. ‘Floating windbreakers’ connect to free floating barrels that rise with the water level, lifting the panels above. By this clever stratagem, water is shielded from the wind, yet allowed to flow unimpeded, accounting for an annual saving of almost seven million liters of water.

The panels are cooled by the water flowing below, adding a further 15 percent to power generation capacity, as compared to land-based solar plants. In the long term, if just ten percent of the 19,000 kilometer canal network in Gujarat is dedicated to canal-top solar farming, it has the potential to produce 2,200 MW of power while freeing 11,000 acres of arable land and saving about 2,000 crore liters of precious water every year.

ABB too had a part to play in this intelligent solution. We received an order for a compact substation (CSS) with a
1 megavolt ampere transformer, based on delivery time commitment. The CSS was shipped out from Nashik, Maharashtra and installed in short order. Soon after, in July 2012 we received a follow-up order to install a ring main unit, a type of switchgear.