This ‘drainage’ solar module is designed to avoid dust accumulation

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Drainage Module of CECEP (PRNewsfoto/CECEP Solar)

Small scale and scattered geological locations of distributed PV power stations make operation and maintenance tasks difficult. CECEP Solar Energy Technology Co. says it has a solution inherent in its new solar module to solve the O&M pain of clearing dust on the surface of PV modules. The impact would be most felt, according to its estimates, in areas with a large quantity of sand blown by the wind, such as California, which shows an annual 7 percent generated energy loss caused by sand and dust.

“Many people still misunderstand the operation and maintenance of distributed PV power stations,” said Wang Jun, General Manager of ANX Technology. “They think distributed power stations do not need operation and maintenance, which lead to disorderly management of power stations and dust blocking problem is severe in some power stations, which severely decreases the generated energy of the module. In addition, most industrial and commercial distributed roof power stations are constructed on color roofing, with large risks for operation and maintenance, missing inspection may occur and cleaning may not be completed properly.”

Dust is commonly removed by rain flushing the surface of the module, but as the frame of the module is higher than the glass, some dust will deposit on the frame bottom after flushing, and the accumulated dust will cover the cell and lead to a local hot spot effect. This not only severely influences the output efficiency of the module but also the high temperature will accelerate material breakdown and greatly reduce the service life of the module.

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CECEP drainage solution

CECEP Solar Energy Zhenjiang Co.’s answer is the drainage module, which attempts to solve the problem of dust accumulation at the bottom of the module but also provides a self-cleaning function for the module. The so-called drainage module can effectively eliminate the influence of accumulated dust on the module, enhance generated energy of the power station and reduce the hot spot effect without influencing the performance of the module. Meanwhile, nano-modified material is used for the surface of the membrane to improve smoothness of the surface and reduce friction coefficient, making dust slip more easily; the combination of the self-cleaning membrane and antistatic effect can prevent accumulation of charge; dust will slip under the effect of dead weight and wind force, keeping the surface of PV module clean.

The research and development personnel of CECEP Solar Energy said: “Such a drainage module is more suitable for distributed power stations on color roofing. When modules are paved on the roof, they are not cleaned for a long time. Due to small installation inclination, dust is more likely to accumulate at the bottom. In severe cases, it may even block the cells of both rows, which will severely influence the generated energy. The drainage module developed by us will effectively solve the dust accumulation problem and increase generated energy of power stations. ”

In addition, application of the drainage module can greatly reduce the operation and maintenance cost of power stations.

CECEP Solar Energy Zhenjiang Company carried out the investigation for its drainage modules in 2016 and has currently completed the internal test and verification. The company is now able to manufacture the module in batches and plans to put it on the market this year.

— Solar Builder magazine

Cypress Creek Renewables opens new solar O&M control center

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Cypress Creek Renewables opened up a new solar control center in its flagship Research Triangle Park, North Carolina office. The opening of its new control center marks a significant milestone for Cypress Creek as the company expands its operations and maintenance services for third-party customers, operate secure solar sites and maximize production. The company operates 232 utility, distribution and rooftop-scale solar facilities out of the Cypress Creek Control Center (C4), totaling nearly 2 gigawatts in 14 states across the country.

“We are thrilled to announce our Cypress Creek Control Center in our flagship Research Triangle Park office,” said Matthew McGovern, Chief Executive Officer, Cypress Creek. “Operations and maintenance is an important and growing business for the solar industry and for Cypress Creek. We now have the team, infrastructure and technology to deliver exceptional customer service and system performance.”

The C4 is just one of a handful of North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) – Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) compliant control centers in the country operated by a solar-only company. The C4 was designed to meet NERC’s most stringent cyber security and reliability requirements. To meet the new compliance level, Cypress Creek hired 22 people over the past three months.

RELATED: How to optimize performance and profit through O&M monitoring

Services offered by Cypress Creek’s 60-Person Operations and Maintenance team include:

• 24/7/365 Operations. From the C4, operators quickly identify and initiate corrective actions in coordination with our field technicians and operation engineers. Cypress Creek has combined a real-time operations platform provided by PowerFactors with an enterprise SCADA system designed and engineered by Nor-Cal Controls and GridSME.

• Predictive Maintenance. Dedicated engineers and technicians work to optimize daily performance at sites, utilizing aerial thermography and state-of-the-art technology to identify and correct site level anomalies. Cypress Creek’s O&M team has a nationwide network of technicians and engineers capable of maintaining and repairing solar components.

• Vegetation Management. A team of vegetation technicians and managers work to mitigate safety risks while optimizing system performance. Whether the site requires standard grass mowing, pollinator friendly habitats or sheep grazing, Cypress Creek caters to the unique demands of each solar site and region.

— Solar Builder magazine

Meteocontrol, viasys are collaborating on solar site monitoring solution for North America

Meteocontrol

Meteocontrol North America, a subsidiary of meteocontrol GmbH in Germany, and viasys Intelligent Video GmbH are collaborating is to offer PV-system operators a turn-key solar monitoring solution at a great value and provide North American customers with professional technical support.

Consolidating the systems will result in cost savings for customers because video surveillance can be integrated into meteocontrol’s monitoring portal without the need for any additional infrastructure in solar farms, since the systems can share the same network components, cabling and control cabinet.

“The challenges involved in securing and monitoring solar parks are impressively similar,” said Anson Moran, CEO of meteocontrol North America. “The solution is optimized alarm management. We will conduct high-level data assessments using video, data analysis and artificial intelligence.”

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“The collaboration will solidify our reputation as a reliable partner because our product portfolios complement each other perfectly,” said Martin Schneider, Managing Director of meteocontrol GmbH. “Through our new collaboration with viasys Intelligent Video, we will be able to provide additional value to the market.”

Interlocking the viasys and meteocontrol systems will simplify the technical operation management of solar parks and make them even more secure. When the viasys security system is integrated into an operation manager’s portal view, for example, they will be able to see what is happening near the system at any time and track it with precision all the way up to the access control. The meteocontrol monitoring portal signals the operating status in the status message and provides information as to whether the security system is active.

“There are also other developments in the pipeline,” adds Moran. “The operation manager should be able to receive the alarm messages directly in the ticket system, log them there and create the report for the investor. The messages will no longer need to be processed separately from monitoring in the security control room. We also want to set up an O&M camera-based “Awareness System” designed to provide operation managers with the required view of the system on site without the need to invest in an extensive and complete perimeter security system.”

— Solar Builder magazine

First Solar to provide warranty service for Power Electronics inverters

First Solar logo

First Solar and Power Electronics have finalized an agreement to utilize First Solar’s PV Operations & Maintenance (O&M) team to provide Power Electronics warranty service on inverters installed throughout the United States. This unique relationship enables tangible owner value by reducing response time and repair time.

The arrangement allows Power Electronics to strengthen its customer support with the backing of First Solar Energy Services’ technical resource team. First Solar will provide field support on Power Electronics inverters installed at more than 50 solar power plants, many of which are already operated and maintained by First Solar Energy Services.

How to optimize performance and profit through O&M monitoring

“This collaboration aligns two organizations that share the same commitment to service excellence,” said Timo Moeller, Director of First Solar Energy Services. “Pairing Power Electronics equipment with First Solar’s scale and proven field expertise results in unmatched service structure in the PV industry.”

Moeller said that pairing Power Electronics inverters with First Solar O&M services results in lower operational cost and greater efficiency in plant maintenance.

— Solar Builder magazine

Check out this solar panel soiling measurement tool from Kipp and Zonen

DustIQ

Soiling of the panel glass is one of the major problems in the rapidly expanding solar energy market, with the attendant loss of efficiency and reduction in performance ratios. Now, there’s a new, simple and very cost-effective alternative. Based on Kipp & Zonen’s unique Optical Soiling Measurement (OSM) technology, DustIQ can be easily added to new or existing solar arrays and integrated into plant management systems. The unit is mounted to the frame of a PV panel and does not need sunlight to operate. It continuously measures the transmission loss through glass caused by soiling, so that the reduction in light reaching the solar cells can be calculated.

Know exactly when and where to clean

DustIQ measures the soiling ratio (SR), which can be translated to power loss in real time. This enables the plant operation and maintenance staff to know when a critical level of soiling is reached and it has become necessary to start cleaning procedures. DustIQ needs no maintenance and is cleaned in the same way, and at the same time, as the panels around it.

Large solar parks have different soiling rates across the site, which is why IEC 61724-1 requires multiple measurement points. The significantly lower purchase, installation and maintenance costs of DustIQ compared to traditional systems make this much more economic, so that cleaning can be scheduled when and where it is needed.

DustIQ communicates digitally via Modbus and has an input for an optional back panel temperature sensor. It can be networked with Kipp & Zonen Smart pyranometers for irradiance measurements and be integrated into a plant SCADA system.

The performance ratio of PV panels is primarily determined by four main parameters; the incoming solar irradiance, the cell (back panel) temperature, the soiling ratio and the power produced. So, DustIQ really is the missing link.

— Solar Builder magazine