University aims for a brighter future with ABB Solar Solutions

A pioneering solar installation has been installed at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts FHNW in Switzerland as students champion the need for sustainable energy and self-consumption.

ABB is supporting the sustainability vision of Swiss students from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts by collaborating on the installation of a next generation roof-mounted PV installation.

As part of their ongoing study program, students from the Energy and Environmental Engineering department have supported the installation incorporating digital capabilities on a campus building at the Brugg-Windisch site, half an hour’s drive north of Zurich.

With over 900 employees and 2,700 students at the university, the aim of the project, developed by the students, was to help the University meet its sustainability targets and reduce its reliance on the grid.

Several ABB solutions, including ABB Ability™ and PVS-100 solar inverters were used to help maximize the efficiency of the complex PV installation across the flat roof buildings and challenging structures.

Stefan Roth, Lecturer, Energy and Environmental Studies said: “The technology we have available today is very well suited to capture renewable energy. Our students realized that the potential of solar combined with digital data was huge and wanted to create a sustainable and holistic energy consumption model for our university – supporting the university today and the students of the future.”

After undertaking a detailed feasibility study on how solar can support the campus’ electricity needs and reviewing the significant challenges presented by several roof top obstructions including heating, ventilation systems and chimneys, the students planned an installation of 756 solar modules on the site in an east-west set-up, each orientation connected to their own PVS-100 inverter.

Adrian Wachholz, Product Marketing Specialist for Solar from ABB said: “The students at the university are at the forefront of a change. More and more businesses, public sector buildings and homeowners are moving away from the traditional energy consumption model. They are looking at how electric energy is produced, when it is used and how to effectively reduce the cost. Digitalization and smart inverters such as the PVS-100 are essential technologies to support this transition by improving yields and making this information tangible.”

The PVS-100 is a three-phase string inverter solution for cost efficient decentralized photovoltaic systems. Its power range and the cloud connectivity provide the unique features to stand out in a highly competitive market.

Launched earlier this year as part of the wider PVS inverter portfolio, the PVS-100 delivers a six-in-one, sun-to-socket solution, proven to deliver scalability, flexibility, proactive plant management and ease of installation through the ABB Ability™ Installer for solar inverters App.

Full digitalization and proactive control and management was a pre-requisite of the PV technology for the University students, particularly as the principle aim was to improve self-consumption of the energy produced from renewables on campus.

ABB Ability™ provides a unified digital platform connecting the students with devices, systems and products such as the PVS-100 inverter and enabling them to harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT), delivering data insights for proactive plant maintenance and energy management.

At the Brugg-Windisch site, ABB Ability™ provides the students with a real-time view of how much energy is being harvested at peak times and when they can use it for heating and cooling systems.

Roth continued: “Having a holistic view over our PV plant allowed us to take advantage of seasonal variations and improve energy self-sufficiency of the campus to 3.5 percent, using the energy only when we needed it. This is one of the biggest advantages that digitalization can offer in creating a sustainable energy model for today and tomorrow.”

It is predicted, that the PV installation of 230kWp will provide at least 1/30 of the 6 million kilowatt hours the campus requires on a yearly basis. Via sophisticated self-consumption optimization, 99 percent of the PV electricity can be used at the campus.

Students at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland are confident that renewable energy from solar will create a powerful energy model for the next generation.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in power grids, electrification products, industrial automation and robotics and motion, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner in ABB Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.


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