PV Diesel Hybrid Systems – 3 Popular Designs

From on 05/28/2014 in Category Technology with 15 Comments

With SMA’s Fuel Save Solution for large industrial applications, PV can be easily and efficiently integrated with diesel generation. The Sunny Tripower and Sunny Central inverters convert direct current from PV modules into alternating current and feed it into power supply systems. The SMA Fuel Save Controller intelligently manages the PV feed-in and diesel genset. The result: an achievement of up to 60 percent of PV-supplied electrical capacity compared to relying solely on an installed genset’s capacity.

The SMA Fuel Save Controller is saving diesel fuel and bringing stable, renewable electricity to parts of the world that have never had it before. It’s impact on the PV industry earned it recognition as a finalist for the highly coveted Photovoltaics award at this summer’s Intersolar Europe in Munich.

Here is a closer look at the three examples of the most-common system designs featuring the SMA Fuel Save Solution.

Grid or Genset1.     Grid and PV connected hybrid system including a genset backup supply: Cotton Mill, Palladam, India

Daily power outages, often lasting several hours, are commonplace in India’s federal state Tamil Nadu. For this reason, the Alpine Knits cotton mill located in Palladam had been using diesel gensets to ensure a reliable power supply for their production site—simply accepting the exorbitant operation expenses resulting from the gensets’ fuel consumption. When they decided to reduce their energy bills, mill operators invested in a PV diesel hybrid system with the photovoltaic system placed on the factory’s rooftop.

Since June, 2012 the SMA Fuel Save Solution has ensured reliable operation, even during grid failures. As the intelligent interface between PV system and diesel gensets, the Fuel Save Controller ensures a highly efficient power supply. During peak production hours, the PV system provides approximately 60 percent of the total power demand of the mill – representing a considerable cost savings to the business.

Grid plus Genset2. Grid and PV connected hybrid system including a genset main supply: Mine, Thabazimbi, South Africa

Thabazimbi is a sparsely populated region in the South African province of Limpopo known for its mining. The power distribution grid is far away, grid connection is limited and transportation of diesel fuel is expensive. With a high amount of solar irradiation, the region is ideally suited for the use of PV energy. Since November 2012, a one megawatt PV system  has complemented the existing diesel energy main supply at a chrome ore mine. As the key component of the Fuel Save Solution, the SMA Fuel Save Controller manages the PV feed-in and controls the solar and diesel generators according to current load and generation profiles.

A Carbon War Room case study calling for a rise in hybrid PV-diesel systems for mining highlighted a South African mine that’s integrated a 1 MW PV system to reduce diesel consumption by 24 percent, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1,200 tons annually. The system’s exceptional payback period, less than four years, gives further reason why the advancing PV diesel hybrid system technology can revolutionize the mining industry.

Remote Hybrid/genset as backup 3. Remote hybrid system with a genset backup supply: Island Electrification, Vava’u, Tonga

The Tongan island chain Vava’u is now benefiting from its perfect solar conditions—more than 1,500 hours of sunshine annually. A PV diesel hybrid system with the SMA Fuel Save Solution went into operation in November 2013 with the goal of saving diesel fuel and thereby minimizing costs and CO2 emissions. The 500 kW hybrid PV farm with 1,680 PV modules and 21 SMA Sunny Tripower inverters was fully integrated into the existing diesel network and provides almost 70 percent of Vava’u’s energy demands at noon.

 

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Stella has worked at SMA as student assistant and wrote about remote regions and special solar projects.

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15 Comments

  • avatar

    Ted

    06/30/2014 at 10:10 am

    This is interesting. Does the fuel saver system have the ability to natively incorporate a battery bank to further optimize these types of systems?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      06/30/2014 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Ted –

      Yes, the Fuel Save Controller can work in conjunction with our Sunny Central Storage to further optimize PV in these types of hybrid systems. You can find more information on the Sunny Central Storage here.

      Thanks,
      Justin

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Longrée

    07/15/2014 at 4:35 am

    Hi,

    I’m collaborating with a Komat’su distributor for mining sites in Africa. We intend to propose alternative solutions to full powered genset electricity production. I need to know if any monitoring of the genset installation is mandatory for the design of the SMA FSS. Could SMA give some support for the first project.

    Thanks for your answer.

    Marc

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      07/16/2014 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Marc,

      Thanks for reaching out about the Fuel Save Controller. To best answer your question, I’ve forwarded your email address to our Hybrid Energy Solutions manager, Tristan, who will reach out directly. If possible, can you email me any other contact information to help him reach you? socialmedia@sma-america.com

      Thanks,
      Justin

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Talha Saleem

        06/08/2015 at 6:46 am

        Hi,

        I am working on renewable energy in Pakistan and I am interested in system to eliminate battery bank costs by using the diesel or as combustion generator as back-up. This also reduces the all-over PV investment, of course.

        What I wanted to ask was that do these devices come in different sizes(kWs)?

        Thanks!

      • avatar

        Justin Dyke

        06/08/2015 at 8:04 am

        Hi Talha – Yes, the Fuel Save Solution is compatible with PV systems of many different sizes.

        Best,
        Justin

  • avatar

    Talha Saleem

    06/08/2015 at 6:38 am

    Hi,

    I own a Renewable Energy business in Pakistan. In order to reduce battery bank costs I am interested in using Diesel or Gas combustion generators as back-up.

    I need to know if this is also compatible with natural gas combustion generators?

    Thanks!

    Reply »
  • avatar

    Talha Saleem

    07/12/2015 at 11:46 am

    Hi Justin,

    I saw on your website that the SMA fuel save controller in for more than 300KVA generators and for 100kW, which is actually my requirment, we need to get the one box solution?

    Is that true .. kindly elaborate pls

    Thanks!

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      07/20/2015 at 10:37 am

      Hi Telha –

      The best way to get more information for purchasing is by contacting your local SMA subsidiary for their help. Are you looking to install the system in North America? If so, you can email sales@sma-america.com to find the best person to help you. If you’re looking outside of North America, let me know where and I can connect you appropriately.

      Best,
      Justin

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Talha Saleem

        07/22/2015 at 6:39 am

        Hey Justin,

        This project is out of America on Pakistan, Mirpurkhas.

        Thanks!

        Best Regards,

        Talha Saleem

      • avatar

        Justin Dyke

        07/22/2015 at 2:02 pm

        Hi Talha –

        The closest subsidiary to your project location is in UAE. SMA Middle East has their website here and they can be contacted at Sales@SMA-ME.com to get you on your way.

        Best of luck,
        Justin

  • avatar

    Ahmed A. D. Gh

    04/25/2016 at 12:37 pm

    I’m working in a project same as design “2”. 500kW PV, i need more technical details on the connection of the FSC. all the required measurement components to feed the FSC with gensets status. all details available on SMA website are not enough to design such system

    Reply »
  • avatar

    Paul Tch.

    08/08/2017 at 2:58 am

    Can the SMA FUEL SAVE CONTROLLER be integrated with a system using microinverters ?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      08/18/2017 at 11:47 am

      Hi Paul, the Fuel Save Controller is only approved for use with SMA Sunny Tripower and Central inverters.

      Reply »

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