Photovoltaic diesel hybrid system in Tamil Nadu

SMA Solar Technology has equipped another photovoltaic diesel hybrid system with Sunny Tripower inverters and the intelligent control unit SMA Fuel Save Controller. Thanks to the SMA Fuel Save Solution the system owner, a cotton mill operator in Palladam, a suburb of Tirupur in the Indian state Tamil Nadu, is able to continue production – despite daily utility grid failures – with solar energy and is saving fuel costs and reducing CO2 emissions considerably.


Reliable Energy Supply Despite Daily Power Outages Daily power outages lasting several hours are commonplace in Palladam. Until now, the cotton mill operator Alpine Knits used a 1.25 MVA diesel generator to supply power during the power outages. However, the ongoing fuel consumption led to continuous increases in production costs. To reduce their energy bill, the cotton mill operator decided to install a PV system on the rooftop of their factory. In June, the new PV system with a 1 MWp module capacity designed, installed and commissioned by Chemtrols Solar Pvt Ltd, an established EPC service provider based in Mumbai, started producing inexpensive energy.


“Low costs, quick operational readiness, maximum reliability and availability are fundamental for energy-intensive operations,” says Roland Grebe, Chief Technology Officer at SMA. “This is why we developed the SMA Fuel Save Solution for industrial applications.” The SMA Fuel Save Solution combines the PV system and local diesel gensets to work as a PV diesel hybrid system that covers the energy demand of the cotton mill reliably even when the grid fails. The PV array with 44 Sunny Tripower 20000TLEE inverters can meet up to 60 percent of the energy demand. The SMA Fuel Save Controller intelligently controls PV feed-in based on load profiles and PV array power – for a consistent and secure supply of electricity, reduced fuel costs and minimum CO2 emissions, with excess solar energy fed into the utility grid.


“For factories that suffer power outages and are dependent on diesel generators for their power supply, a hybrid system is the perfect solution as it increases the utilization of the PV power plant significantly and thus reduces payback time,” says Dhananjay Nandedkar, assistant to the vice-president, Solar projects, Chemtrols Solar.


Solar Energy – an Alternative to Diesel The installation in Palladam is SMA's second hybrid system to use the SMA Fuel Save Solution. In December 2012, the first hybrid system in the megawatts went into operation in Thabazimbi, South Africa in a chrome ore mine. “The system in Thabazimbi combines an energy supply based on diesel with PV, while the installation in Palladam is the first hybrid system in which the diesel genset is used as backup power supply, due to the weakness of the utility grid,” explains Roland Grebe. “With these two installations, we have proven our expertise in the hybridization of both energy supply systems.”


There is good potential in India for hybrid systems – currently over 20 gigawatts of diesel gensets produce the energy used in industries such as raw material processing, agriculture and textiles. And with a solar irradiation of 1,500 kWh per kWp and up to 300 sunny days per year, India is a prime location for PV array power. “We are currently planning further installations in collaboration with the system designer and EPC Company, Chemtrols Solar, ” says Roland Grebe. “In sunny regions, the SMA Fuel Save Solution is an economical and ecological alternative to increasing diesel prices and high CO2 emissions.”

Solar PV | News published on 02/07/2013 by Gisela Bühl

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