Solar Builder 2018 Bronze Project of the Year: Gallup River Plain Solar Farm

Solar Builder Project of the year bronze

Standard Solar Inc., a nationwide solar energy development and financing company, put in a ton of work in all phases of development to complete a 9.8-MW solar project for the City of Gallup, N.M.

“We’re excited that our unique ability to finance this project played a role in bringing it to its completion,” says Scott Wiater, president and CEO of Standard Solar. “City officials at all levels were committed to making this project a success, and it was an honor for us to be involved.”

Found in the Flood

Bronze_Gallup Solar Farm_Pic3

Gallup River Plain Solar Farm | Gallup, N.M. | 9.8 MW

  • Developer: Standard Solar, Mangan Renewables, Wiser Capital
  • Contractor: M Electric Inc.
  • Modules: REC
  • Inverters: ABB
  • Racking: GameChange Solar

The land for this project was located in a 100-year floodplain, which meant designing a system to withstand the conditions created by a flood of that magnitude. Standard Solar found a company that could design both the racking system and the pile foundations supporting it, but in its design process, they determined the major factor contributing to the pile design shouldn’t be the base-flood elevation condition, but the wind load — and designed it accordingly.

The PV array was elevated to prevent maximum expected flood waters from reaching the PV modules and other critical electrical components. The ground clearance of the PV array, when at maximum tilt, ranges from 3 ft on the east side to 6 ft on the west side. The inverters and combiner boxes were also all installed at heights designed to exceed maximum water levels.

Additionally, though the site was only 8 MWac, it required two separate points of interconnection to avoid overloading a single feeder on the City of Gallup’s Alison substation. The site was split into two 4-MWac interconnections to two separate feeders.

Bronze_ City of Gallup

On the financial side, Standard Solar negotiated a power-purchase agreement that did not require any upfront cost to complete the installation of the solar power plant. Even better, the city will pay the solar firm a flat rate for the production generated by the system over 20 years.

“This array will have a huge impact on the City of Gallup and its future,” says Richard Matzke, Gallup electric director. “When the opportunity to protect our environment and save our citizens’ money presented itself, we were thrilled to take advantage. We appreciate everyone involved in the project for helping us bring it to fruition.”

The solar farm is expected to generate more than 20 million kWh of power annually saving the city approximately $785,000 and providing nearly 10 percent of the city’s energy use. The solar farm, constructed on approximately 31 acres of city-owned land south of Interstate Highway 40, will generate enough electricity to power 2,500 homes and offset production of 3,500,000 lbs of carbon dioxide annually. The project provided local employment opportunities for 58 jobs during the construction phase and two ongoing positions.

Standard Solar financed the project and will own and operate the array. Mangan Renewables, a division of Mangan Inc., developed the project in partnership with Wiser Capital and their proprietary underwriting platform.

— Solar Builder magazine

ABB launches a few new eBOS components for 1,500 volt PV systems

ABB inverters

The shift to higher voltages is helping reduce the cost of utility-scale photovoltaic systems. Higher-voltage systems make installations more energy efficient, require fewer components and less wiring, and are less labor intensive to build. Most new solar plants have voltages of 1500V on the DC side and many are moving towards 800V on the AC side.

ABB is adding a new molded case circuit breaker (MCCB) for higher-voltage solar power plants to its Tmax PV range and launching the solar industry’s first fully optimized two-pole DC (OTDC) switch-disconnector for 1500-volt utility-scale plants covering 315-630A IEC and 250-600A UL current range.


The new design offers both a size reduction and an increase in efficiency and performance to help manufacturers of PV combiner boxes, inverters, and energy storage systems adapt to the industry’s rapid adoption of 1500V DC solutions.

The two-pole 1500V DC concept helps manufacturers improve system efficiency, reducing switch losses by up to 35 percent. Measuring just 150mm wide and 122mm high across the current range, the OTDC range of 1500V DC switches is also up to 30 percent smaller than conventional solutions. The compact size of the new OTDC range makes it possible for manufacturers to reduce the size of combiner boxes and inverters.

ABB’s unique design makes it possible to operate up to two 1500V DC strings with just one switch. In addition to the standard connections, the OTDC’s modular design also makes it possible for ABB to fulfil the non-standard requests that come from the quickly changing solar market.


Molded case breaker

The breaker, designed to protect combiners, switchgear and inverters up to 1500V DC, is the latest addition to ABB’s complete range of protection solutions for utility-scale solar plants.

For 1500V DC installations with rated current up to 1200A UL and 1600A IEC, ABB’s product range now includes MCCBs and switch-disconnectors. The SACE Tmax PV range makes installation faster and reduces wiring costs for more advanced solar plants, helping utilities and engineers save time. The SACE Tmax PV offers design engineers, panel builders and inverter manufacturers a single–brand solution for photovoltaic systems installed anywhere in the world. All integrate readily with the electrical and mechanical accessories developed for the SACE Tmax T MCCB range.

For systems using string inverters, the SACE Tmax PV range now offers circuit breakers for up to 800V AC, the industry’s first to be type approved to UL 489 specifications and compliant with IEC 60947-2 Standard. ABB’s compact circuit breakers can break short circuit currents up to 32kA.

“We believe 800V AC will be a significant trend in large-scale solar plants,” said Marco Carminati, Global Product Specialist for ABB’s low-voltage breakers. “The response from partners indicates that it will be central to many developments in this field. We are now planning further innovations to support the shift to 800V so that solar plants have everything they need to optimize their power production.”


— Solar Builder magazine

PCI Solar develops solar 1.8-MW project at brownfield site in Wasco, Calif.

PCI Solar

PCI Solar has completed construction of a 1.8-MW solar array for the City of Wasco in California. The project, developed by Siemens, is part of California’s RES-BCT program, which allows a local government with one or more eligible renewable generating facilities to export energy to the grid and receive generation credits to benefitting accounts of the same Local Government. The energy from the array will virtually offset some of the energy from various buildings operated by the City of Wasco.

The project is located on a previous landfill site and is a brownfield development. The 1.8 MW of DC power will be provided by (5346) Silfab 345 watt panels and utilize (27) ABB Trio 50 KW inverters. So as not to disturb the soil, the panels were mounted on a GameChange ballasted racking systems and surrounded by a ballasted protective fence.

— Solar Builder magazine

ABB releases 60-kW TRIO-TM smart solar inverter

ABB TRIO-60-60 kw

The newest addition to ABB’s three-phase, commercial product line is the TRIO-TM-60 with immediate availability. This three maximum power point tracking (MPPT) version features power ratings up to 60 kW and has been designed with enhanced flexibility in mind to maximize the ROI in large systems.

“The TRIO-TM-60 is a robust string inverter able to handle larger design demands as well as size down for the smaller commercial power requirements based on its multiple configurations,” said Mario Thomas, Product Manager at ABB’s solar business in the US. “The modularity, MPPT channels and inde-pendent string allowance offers designers a flexible and reliable solar inverter; while, the user interface offers a wide range of control and application protocols to meet customers’ needs.”

What’s new?

The modularity of this inverter comes with separate DC and AC compartments, which are available in multiple versions for large commercial and small utility designs. The enclosure is NEMA 4X, which re-duces the particles that penetrate the electronic compartments; while, the forced air cooling and field replaceable fans increase the reliability over the lifetime of the inverter.

ABB’s new digital string inverter is ready for next generation smart grid applications and code compliant with Rule 21, and UL1741SA. Its smart capabilities include embedded multi-communication interface (2xEthernet, Wi-Fi and 2x RS-485), and a comprehensive set of control functions enabling full grid sup-port and free remote monitoring. Easy and fast commissioning is verified with an embedded web user interface through any WLAN device.
For more information about the products, services and training please visit

For more info on the newest inverters on the market download our free 2018 Inverter Buyer’s Guide

— Solar Builder magazine

ABB adds new predictive maintenance alerts to Electrical Distribution Control System


ABB industrial customers will soon be able to receive alerts for predictive maintenance of their facility’s electrical distribution system. ABB is adding new connectivity functions to its ABB Ability Electrical Distribution Control System that make power assets more reliable and simpler to manage.

Kevin Jordan, U.S. Market Development Manager for ABB Ability Electrical Distribution and Control System, said: “The more people and companies digitize their work and processes, the more important reliable power sources become. This is why ABB’s latest advance in low-voltage power aims to eliminate common causes of preventable disruptions. This new cloud-based software application for air circuit breakers makes predictive maintenance even easier – it’s a unique solution that will save ABB’s industrial customers time and money.”

ABB’s Electrical Distribution Control System is a unique cloud-based tool for electrical power systems that increases operational efficiency and productivity by up to 30 percent, maximizing uptime for key processes. Additionally, using plug-and-play modules that provide sensing and a direct connection to the cloud, ABB’s unique solution is fully scalable, enabling customers with multi-site operations to manage and supervise remote locations from anywhere. Users can allocate energy consumption and costs to specific assets and the ABB Ability Electrical Distribution Control System helps them optimize power use by receiving data-driven insights and alerts via smartphone, tablet or PC that are easy to act on.

RELATED: Solar Inverter Buyer’s Guide 2018 edition

“ABB’s digital maintenance manager makes servicing a circuit breaker as smart as servicing modern cars,” continued Jordan. “On-board diagnostics determine how soon the next service event should be by monitoring operating conditions and identifying any emerging maintenance requirements before they become an issue. ABB’s predictive maintenance algorithm takes into account all the factors that could affect the circuit breaker’s performance and durability to help customers take the right preventive actions at the right time.”

ABB servicing experts helped develop the new algorithms that will make maintenance smarter, quicker, and less expensive. This new function will optimize service intervals, replacing routine maintenance with intelligent servicing that matches real-world requirements based on the circuit breaker’s real utilization. Factors include the number of mechanical operations; nominal current, overloads and short circuits; and environmental conditions such as humidity, temperature, vibration and corrosion. For mission-critical processes, the cloud-based solution will significantly reduce the risk of unplanned shutdowns. Installations in harsh operating environments will have the clarity needed for effective asset management.

“Simplicity is what makes ABB innovations so powerful,” said Daniel Lightsey, U.S. Technical Manager ABB Ability Electrical Distribution Control System. “ABB Ability Electrical Distribution Control System gives you predictive maintenance without an overload of information. Users determine how often to receive updates on the health of key components, in addition to proactive alerts when action is required. A web app answers everything they need to know quickly and intuitively.”

Air circuit breakers are among the most important safety devices in any large building or industrial facility. When a fault occurs, devices such as the Emax 2 air circuit breaker protect people, plants and processes. Servicing is essential – and by giving customers the right information at the right time, this new ABB solution will make facilities better equipped and more productive.

For more info on the newest inverters on the market download our free 2018 Inverter Buyer’s Guide

— Solar Builder magazine