ABB bags US$25 million order to power South African solar plant

abbheadquartersPower and automation technology group ABB has won an order worth US$25mn to supply electrical and control systems for 75MW photovoltaic (PV) Kathu power plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa

The plant, located in the Kalahari Desert, is owned by South African construction company WBHO and Italian renewable energy developer Building Energy.

ABB Power Systems division head Brice Koch said, “Renewable energy sources such as solar energy have a key role to play in meeting the growing demand for electricity while minimising environmental impact.”

As part of the order, booked in the first quarter, ABB will be responsible for the design, engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of the project.

ABB’s turnkey electrical and automation solution will seek to optimise the performance of the Kathu plant to maximise output while ensuring reliability in remote and demanding operating conditions.

The solution will include a range of ABB power products such as medium- and low-voltage switchgear, distribution transformers, and control and protection devices. It will also incorporate distributed automation and control products from the Symphony Plus family.

Key features of the ABB solution will 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 in conformance with the IEC 61850 open-communication standard for substation automation. ABB will also supply an advanced tracking system with a back-tracking algorithm to optimise tracker movement and eliminate shadow on the panels.

The solution will feature a data-collection system that will collect operational input from the trackers, inverters, string boxes and substation to enable remote operation and maintenance, thereby alleviating the need for onsite manning.

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