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In Cerro Negro Córdoba, Argentina, sits the Fluorita Cerro Negro hybrid PV-diesel plant. It powers a mining operation that specializes in fluorite extraction and processing, without any grid service to power its operations. Historically, the facility has used diesel generators to keep the power on. This process previously required 42 liters of diesel fuel per hour of operation.
To achieve cost-savings efficiencies and utilize cleaner, renewable technology, the facility has now transitioned to a new PV-diesel hybrid solution. The project features two SMA Sunny Tripower CORE1-50 inverters. In total, the project is estimated to produce more than 150,000 annual kilowatt-hours of energy. The PV system also includes 600 Amerisolar panels on a Magnelis® steel structure and one SMA Hybrid Controller S.
The installation is expected to generate a savings of 45,000 liters (11,800 gallons) of fuel per year, preventing approximately 135 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year—the equivalent of planting 7,158 trees annually. But the benefits of the installation at the plant extend beyond this environmental benefit.
“SMA provides a complete hybrid generation solution with additional features for full integration
between inverters and PPC,” said Juan José Aparicio, system engineer at Ascentio Technologies. “The implemented solution also has a friendly interface that allows remote support, a specialized SCADA solution through Sunny Portal, on-site weather information and performance ratio calculation with real-time trend analysis to simplify activities from O&M.”
When possible, the Hybrid Controller (HyCon) allows PV energy to be used with priority over the energy from the generator. HyCon also protects generators against common problems related to reverse power, the power factor or spinning reserve assurance.
At the facility-level, full integration and digital remote management ultimately made fault detection, isolation and recovery services simple. These benefits are especially valuable in locations, such as Cerro Negro Córdoba, where specialized services are expensive due to distance and difficult access.
The engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning of the installation at the hybrid PV-diesel plant was completed in 4 months, launching in late 2019.
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Trish Moratto (guest author)
Trish manages public relations for SMA America. She focuses on the industry media, corporate communications strategy and thought leadership.