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9REN

The 9REN Group designs, develops, builds and operates renewable turnkey power plants using photovoltaics, solar thermal energy and wind. Wonderware Helps 9REN Group monitor its extensive network of renewable energy generation plants with the help of System Platform, InTouch, Historian and Historian Client.

Goals

  • The company needed to increase the production levels of its renewable energy generation installations in Europe and the Mideast
  • 9REN wanted to reduce its field operations maintenance costs by minimizing manual supervision of plant operations

Challenges

  • Geographic dispersion of the company’s power generation sites throughout Spain, Italy and the Mideast demanded a centralized approach to system monitoring across differing time zones and weather patterns.
  • 9REN required a solution that could easily scale with the projected installation of new renewable energy facilities in new regions

Results

  • Wonderware software enabled 9REN to increase event recognition by 50% and boost the solar tracking capabilities of the photovoltaic systems by 5%.
  • Wonderware also helped improve the monitoring report performance, reducing the time it takes to produce the reports from one month to two days.

’Wonderware software lets us access all our installations in real time. Because of this, we only require one person to control the operation of all of the 568 plants, regardless of location’

Antonio Palacios Higueras, Technical Services Manager

Background

Madrid, Spain – Eventually the world will shift its energy dependency from fossil fuels to renewable sources of power. As the price of crude oil and natural gas continues to rise with global demand, geopolitical instability and the approach of peak oil, new ventures are leveraging inexhaustible sun and wind power to offer clean and renewable energy alternatives for lighting our homes and powering business.

To manage and monitor its photovoltaic plant facilities, 9REN created EOSystem, a solution built on Wonderware System Platform. EOSystem is a real-time monitoring technology that provides instantaneous information from all photovoltaic installations operated by 9REN throughout Europe and the Middle East. As a result, 9REN has considerably reduced the cost of its field operations.

Total Picture of Power Production

Wonderware System Platform is the delivery mechanism for enterprise control, and consists of the components necessary to provide a true aggregated view of information across an organization, enabling a robust foundation for collaboration between people, processes and systems. System Platform provides a single, scalable software solution for all the SCADA, supervisory HMI and MES needs for monitoring 9REN’s renewable power-generating installations. System Platform also provides a simple upgrade path for easily adding new software and hardware to the system from any third-party vendor. By including an industrialized application server, a powerful historian server and an easy-to-use information server, System Platform easily tackles demanding, precision-driven real-time power generation activities.

A side benefit of System Platform was its ability to help power plant managers achieve higher levels of consistency and quality across its entire “grid” of photovoltaic and wind installations.  Employing five servers, System Platform controls all of 9REN’s installations. Two servers act as redundant object servers with one controlling the plants in Spain and the other controlling operations in Italy. A third server is for historic information and operates the historian database. The historian is a high-performance real-time database for power generation information and is designed to collect a wide variety of plant data, at full resolution and very high data rates. Delivery of this vital information ensures that decision-makers at all levels have the information needed to take steps needed to ensure maximum operational efficiency. Another server provides visualization via Wonderware InTouch HMI. InTouch empowers 9REN to quickly and easily develop custom graphical views of its real-time power generation processes. As an open and extensible HMI with high-end graphical capabilities, the software provides the power and flexibility needed for advanced application design with connectivity to a broad range of systems and devices. With the help of Wonderware, the EOSystem has delivered tangible benefits for 9REN. For example, while the 6-megawatt photovoltaic plant in Bella, Italy generates electrical power, the EOSystem transmits valuable information via satellite to 9REN’s Madrid office. The plant, located in southern Italy near Rome, consists of an extensive array of 30,000 solar panels with 12 inverters to convert the DC-generated solar panel electricity into the AC power required to run homes and businesses. The solar power facility has extensive monitoring tools to measure generated energy in real time and stations to record local weather conditions, enabling managers to anticipate reduced power generation due to cloudy or inclement weather.

The System Platform enables EOSystem to provide effective collaboration tools that enable standardization, reduced engineering time and cost savings.

“The System Platform lets us access all our installations in real time,” said Antonio Palacios Higueras, services technical manager for 9REN. “Because of this, we only require one person to control the operation of all of the 568 plants, regardless of location. We also have achieved a significant cost reduction in time per designer and project.”

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