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Complete solutions for the solar power industry

ABB provides power and automation products and systems for each stage of the solar power process – from robotic systems that help manufacture photovoltaic cells to complete power and automation packages for large-scale solar power plants.

 

 

Even with the uncertainty of a global recession and oil hovering around $70 a barrel, the annual global growth rate of installed solar power systems is expected to quadruple from five gigawatts (GW) in 2008 to around 22 GW by 2013. European Photovoltaic Industry Association, 2009

ABB now has a broad offering of power and automation solutions for the solar sector and continues to develop the specialist technologies that will be vital to the realization of projects like Desertec.

Our involvement in the industry goes back to the early 1990s when we developed an automation platform for the world’s first test facility for concentrating solar power technologies, the Plataforma Solar de Almería in Spain.

Since then, ABB has provided solutions for solar power projects around the world and has developed technologies to maximize the productivity and reliability of both photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) systems. Photovoltaic (PV) systems use semiconductor materials to convert light directly into electricity. Concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) uses mirrors to reflect sunlight onto fluids, which heat up and then pass through a heat exchanger to generate steam, drive a turbine and generate electricity. 

As solar technology has advanced, market interest has increased. In 2008, grid-tied solar PV grew by 70 percent, and the capacity of utility-scale solar PV plants (larger than 200 kilowatts) tripled to 3 GW. The CSP market grew by 15 percent.

China just announced it will develop a 2,000-megawatt photovoltaic farm in the Mongolian desert, to be completed in phases by 2019, which is expected to provide enough electricity to power three million Chinese homes. 

Large-scale PV and CSP power plants 

For large-scale solar power plants, generating anywhere from one to hundreds of megawatts (MW) of electricity, ABB offers power and automation packages specifically designed to meet the market and technical requirements of both types of technology.

For PV power plants, ABB has developed a unique 1-MW generating module designed to capture maximum energy from the sun. Modules are easily connected to increase generating capacity, and come pre-assembled, factory-tested and containerized for rapid installation, anywhere in the world, ensuring a faster return on investment.

The modules feature sophisticated ABB software and solar trackers that make continual adjustments to exactly align the solar panels with the sun's position and maximize the amount of electricity drawn from sunlight. 

Critical components like inverters Inverters are essential components in sustainable energy production. They transform the direct current electricity generated by installations like solar panels into alternating current, either for immediate consumption or for transfer into the AC power grid. are part of ABB's reliable, energy efficient automation technology which can significantly reduce the amount of power used by electric motors. 

Solar tracker systems can generate up to 35-percent more power than fixed PV systems, and ensure maximum productivity even during periods of weak or low sunlight. Totana is a prime example of this highly scalable concept at work.

In the CSP segment, ABB provides complete power and automation solutions for entire installations. The solutions include technology that enables each of the thousands of parabolic troughs in the solar fields to collect maximum energy; instrumentation and control systems for the heat transfer tubes, thermal storage tanks and power plant; electrical balance of plant for the power block; and electrical equipment that feeds the power reliably into the power grid.

Examples of ABB solutions for CSP plants include the two largest installations in Europe -Andasol 1&2 and Extresol 1&2 in Spain, generating 50 MW of electricity per unit. Other examples are eSolar in the United States (recently featured on the National Geographic TV channel), and the 150-MW Hassi R’Mel plant in Algeria, which is one of the first power plants in the world to integrate solar and combined cycle power generation in a single facility. 

Photovoltaic applications

In addition to providing complete power and automation solutions for large-scale solar power plants, ABB is a leading global supplier of power and automation products for solar power installations in industrial, commercial and residential buildings using fixed modules or solar trackers installed on a building or in a solar field. 

ABB supplies a complete range of power and automation components for PV systems in building applications. The portfolio includes all the key components for operating the solar trackers, converting the direct current into alternating current, protecting the entire system from surges, and delivering power to the grid.

Decentralized generation and smart grids

ABB is currently executing a pilot project to develop a network control system that integrates automated metering, decentralized power generation, multi-directional energy flows, and energy trading systems into a single, smart power grid.

The solution is based on ABB’s Network Manager, the world’s leading platform for energy trading systems and for the monitoring and control of power generation, transmission and distribution networks. 

Robotics solutions for solar cell manufacturing

As one of the world’s leading robotics companies, ABB supplies a comprehensive range of robot-based solutions for the manufacture of wafers, cells and modules for photovoltaic systems. The portfolio includes compact, high-speed robots for handling wafers and cells, lifting and assembling modules, precision-trimming and handling laminates, soldering and interconnecting components, and packaging and palletizing final products. 

ABB LV and MV Solutions for solar energy 1SDC007351B0202

ABB solar solutions brochure Dec14 (web)

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Appendix A _ String product manual_ DC counter part types_9AAK10103A3456_EN_revE

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ABB string inverters PVI-10.0/12.5-TL-OUTD 10 to 12.5 kW

 

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