Home > ABB to power major South African photovoltaic solar plant

ABB to power major South African photovoltaic solar plant

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Leading power and automation technology group, ABB has won a $25 million order to supply electrical and control systems for a new 75 MW photovoltaic power plant located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

Owned by WBHO, a leading South African construction company and Building Energy, an Italian renewable energy developer and operator, the plant is located in the Kalahari Desert close to the town of Kathu.

The Kathu PV power plant is among the first tranche of projects to be awarded as part of South Africa’s renewable energy program, which aims to diversify the country’s energy mix and reduce its carbon footprint. Once completed in 2014, it is expected to be one of the world’s largest photovoltaic power plants with a single-axis tracking system.

According to Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems division, renewable energy sources such as solar have a key role to play in meeting the growing demand for electricity while minimising environmental impact. He adds that ABB has a strong track record in delivering turnkey power and automation solutions that are optimising photovoltaic power plants all over the world.

ABB’s turnkey electrical and automation solution will optimise the performance of the Kathu plant to maximise output while ensuring reliability in remote and demanding operating conditions. ABB will be responsible for the design, engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of the project.

ABB power products such as medium- and low-voltage switchgear, distribution transformers, and control and protection devices will be supplied for the project. ABB’s solutions will also incorporate distributed automation and control products from the Symphony Plus family.

Key features of the ABB solution: 

  • Integration of the plant’s electrical equipment and high-voltage substation with the company’s proprietary Symphony Plus Distributed Control System (DCS) solution in conformance with the IEC 61850 open-communication standard for substation automation
  • Advanced tracking system with a backtracking algorithm that optimises tracker movement and eliminates shadow on the panels
  • Data collection system to collect operational input from the trackers, inverters, string boxes and substation to enable remote operation and maintenance, minimising the need for onsite manning
Offering a diverse portfolio of product, system and service solutions for the entire solar power value chain, ABB has delivered more than 50 turnkey PV power plants worldwide. 

ABB Australia represents the ABB group in Australia.

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