75MW Solar Site SCADA and Field Controls for a Large Solar Developer
In 2017, a large solar developer with dozens of solar projects across the US chose Affinity Energy to implement SCADA at several 75MW plants in the Southeast. This Fortune 200 company is one of the largest generators of renewable energy in the United States with more than 45,000MW of generating capacity.
After the factory acceptance test in which we reviewed engineering progress and findings, I left the meeting with full confidence in Affinity Energy’s ability to get our large solar projects done exactly the way we wanted, and on time.
–Senior Engineer, Large Solar Developer
Year-End SCADA Integration for Two 75MW PV Solar Farms
At the end of 2017, this large solar developer had large, concurrent solar projects. They needed to finalize SCADA at eight sites before the end of 2017 in order to meet tax equity implications.
Not only was there too much work for their current control systems integrator to keep up with, the integrator did not have a deep expertise in PV solar monitoring and control. The developer had been looking for ways of monitoring that were easy for their operators to visualize, and control capabilities that their current provider didn’t have a deep enough understanding to provide.
Because of Affinity Energy’s SCADA, instrumentation, and Wonderware expertise in PV solar, they were chosen to tackle two of the developer’s eight sites.
Our engineers started with the Wonderware System Platform HMI and Modicon PLC control program they had implemented at other projects, and customized to the specific needs of this project.
During discussions with the solar developer, Affinity Energy introduced new advanced monitoring concepts the developer found appealing. Concepts such as the normalization of combiner data and voltage control are not broadly implemented in solar, but core to the developer’s long-term business plan.
After adding the functionality we discussed, we deployed the control program and new HMI. Because we’d previously worked with the site commissioning lead, there was a high level of confidence in Affinity Energy’s level to execute.
Site commissioning had to be done by the end of 2017 in order for the developer to meet tax equity implications. Of the eight solar projects this developer had going at the same time, the two Affinity Energy worked on were done first, and within the allotted timeframe.
Affinity Energy engineers received positive feedback after making additional recommendations for field work and site efficiency, such as more reliable instrumentation options and simplification of procedures for installation and commissioning of field instrumentation.
According to the developer, it’s very likely Affinity Energy will be a part of projects in 2018 and beyond. Work may even expand in scope to include field services in addition to implementation of field controls and SCADA.