A 37 MW photovoltaic plant which forms part of the first round of South Africa’s Renewable energy independent power producer procurement (REIPPP) programme is seeing the use of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) panels. The project involved an agreement signed in 2013 between GPTech and South African company CBI-electrical.

Cells belonging to these panels adjust constantly to the position of the sun to achieve larger efficiency power generation than other solar technologies. For this facility, GPTech provided 60 units of the Smart PV630WD inverter, as well as a power plant controller (PPC) that controls the operation of all installed equipment.

The PPC carries out different functions. It allows the restriction of the maximum power offered by PV inverters (curtailment) if the electric grid demands it when the power generation is very high (active power absolute constraint). This device also regulates the rate at which inverters produce active power; the energy generation increases progressively (active power ramp-rate). This function avoids sudden changes in the power generation due to inclement weather or external agents and, therefore, avoids possible disturbances in the electric grid.

The PPC guarantees voltage control, and manages the reactive power required at any moment. It also undertakes power factor control. This function sets the ratio of real power to apparent power, allowing for sourcing or sinking of VARs to maintain voltage and increase efficiency in the power system.

In addition to this PV plant, GPTech expects to begin manufacture and sale of its integral solution for PV-diesel hybrid generation plants by the end of 2014.

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