ABB solution buoys floating solar plant on Swiss Alpine lake

ABB solution buoys floating solar plant on Swiss Alpine lake

Located 1,810 meters above sea level on the artificial Lac des Toules in Switzerland, Romande Energie operates one of the world’s highest floating photovoltaic (PV) installations.

The alpine environment is conducive to solar production due to the high altitude and air quality, even in winter. The solar plant, comprising 36 floating modules with 1,400 PV panels, has a capacity of more than 800,000 kWh of electricity per year.

Romande Energie selected ABB to provide a solution capable of withstanding the extreme Alpine conditions. ABB developed a customized solution configured to the customer’s unique requirements.

A preassembled Compact Secondary Substation (CSS), UniPack-G provides the safety, quality and longevity needed for solar farm applications in harsh environments. It has the dual task of protecting against solar rays and facilitating communication. Compared with its concrete alternative, the glass reinforced polyester (GRP) enclosure is so lightweight it was transported by helicopter. GRP is an easily shapeable, extremely strong, and robust material with a high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent thermal characteristics. It is electrically nonconductive with excellent chemical and corrosion resistance, helping to fulfil its tasks to block solar rays and allow for radio transmission without the need for an external antenna.

Providing direct connection to the grid, the CSS contains a SafePlus medium voltage gas-insulated switchgear with a RIO600 remote input/output (i/o) unit with fault passage indication (FPI), and a low voltage switchboard.

The RIO600 accommodates web technology-based functionality, enabling accurate current and voltage measurements from the medium-voltage network utilizing ABB's light weight sensor technology.

Itis extremely flexible and easily configurable together with the protection and control IED manager system PCM600, the easy-to-handle tool providing versatile functionalities required throughout the life cycle of ABB's Relion® in transmission and distribution applications.


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