ABB secures $25m order for Northern Cape PV plant

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Power and automation technology group ABB has secured a $25-million order to supply electrical and control systems for a new 75 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the Northern Cape.
Owned by South African construction company WBHO and Italian renewable-energy developer Building Energy, the Kathu PV plant is located in the Kalahari desert near the town of Kathu and the Sishen iron-ore mine.
The plant was among the first 28 projects selected in the first round of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
Once completed, in 2014, the plant would be one of the world’s largest PV power plants with a single-axis tracking system. It would have the capacity to generate around 146 GWh of clean solar power to feed into the national grid.
ABB’s turnkey electrical and automation solution for the plant would include a range of ABB power products such as medium- and low-voltage switchgear, distribution transformers and control and protection devices.
It would also incorporate distributed automation and control products from the Symphony Plus family.
ABB would be responsible for the design, engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of the project.
Key features of the ABB solution would include the integration of the plant’s electrical equipment and high-voltage substation with the company’s proprietary Symphony Plus Distributed Control System (DCS) solution.
ABB would also supply an advanced tracking system with a back-tracking algorithm that optimises tracker movement and eliminates shadow on the panels.
The solution also features a data-collection system that collects operational input from the trackers, inverters, string boxes and substation to enable remote operation and maintenance.

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