Operating PV diesel power plants optimally and achieving high solar share – even in megawatt scale
Solar power can be generated anywhere where the sun is shining. Thus, photovoltaics is predestined for the electricity supply of network-dependent regions, which until now depended on diesel generators. Currently, the so-called off-grid market for conventional diesel generators has an estimated value of over 20 GW per year. With the rapid price development of photovoltaics, it is becoming more and more economical to replace diesel power with solar power – this applies to small systems with a power of several hundred kilowatts to large island systems and minigrids in the multi-MW range. PV diesel power plants improve the climate stability of existing plants and enable the environmentally friendly electrification of remote regions.
The research group in the PV-Diesel project aims to optimize the interplay of photovoltaics with diesel generators in combination with battery storage. By means of suitable system solutions and the coverage of the entire system diversity with suitable, standardized components, a significant cost reduction and improved reliability is to be achieved. This includes, in particular, adapted components, compatible interfaces, novel control systems and design methods as well as the scientific proof of the functionality, reliability and economy in operation.
Innovative system kit enables scalable and flexible PV diesel hybrid power plants
The inverter manufacturer and system solution expert SMA Solar Technology AG and the engine specialist MWH – Märkisches Werk GmbH work together in this research group with the researchers of the Fraunhofer institutes IWES and ISE as well as of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences. Diesel consumption is to be lowered compared to existing solar diesel systems – above all through a relevant increase in the solar proportion, and thus the efficiency will be improved. At the same time, it is about increasing the service life and stability of the plant. With the innovative system modularity to be developed, scalable and flexible PV diesel hybrid power plants are possible for a wide range of applications that open up the German photovoltaic industry with clear advantages on the promising export market of off-grid systems.