Unique solar irrigation system saves money and emissions in remote applications
2016-12-14 - An ABB drive solution is at the heart of an Australian-first irrigation system that uses solar power to pump water in an environmentally effective manner.
The irrigation system delivers a reliable, autonomous and remote irrigation system that operates using solar power (instead of fossil fuels) or traditional grid electricity.
A key component of the irrigation system, ABB’s ACS355 Solar Pump Drive system converts solar power into electrical energy, providing a remote-controlled irrigation option for inhospitable and difficult-to-access sites. Ideal for agriculture and farming applications and for areas that do not have electricity or where the power supply is unreliable.
With the solar pump drive solution installed the irrigation system provides an estimated running cost savings of $600 to $700 per year on grid electricity and 1.5-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to non-solar, standard pumps connected to the electrical grid.
Electrical cabling, controls and logistics costs are also estimated to be greatly reduced, especially for installations that span vast distances.
ABB supplied a variable speed drive from its ACS355 solar pump range – a combination that offers direct operation from solar panels as well as the ability to access grid electricity when required. Resulting in a flexible and cost-effective solution for this remote application.
Australian-first irrigation system using solar power
It was sized to suit the irrigation requirements of the area to be watered, in which a 1.6kW solar array and pump needed to provide around 50kL per day of water to a 2,000m2 site.
The solar pump drive system works by receiving power supplied from the attached solar panels, and converting it to AC voltage to run the motor for the pump. When enough sunlight is available, the drive starts automatically, and the connected pump begins to run.
The built-in maximum power point tracking functionality then feeds the maximum amount of power possible from the solar array to the pump, to reach maximum flow and efficiency as soon as possible. The drive offers sensor-less flow calculation, dry-run detection and a supervision function. It can also be equipped to operate from the grid if no solar power is available.
ABB’s ACS355 solar pump drive system converts solar power into electrical energy, providing a remote-controlled irrigation option for inhospitable and difficult-to-access sites. It is one of the country’s first solar pump set-ups using the ACS355 Solar Pump Drive in tandem with a 415v, three-phase AC pump. It eliminates the need for electrical grid supply, dramatically reducing logistics and costs in many locations. Offering great geographical flexibility for installations.