The biggest PV-diesel hybrid power plant on earth is being built by Solar Technology AT (SMA) in Pando, a Bolivian province.
SMA Solar-Diesel Hybrid Innovation
Solar Technology AG is not only supplying the required photovoltaic inverters for this PV-Diesel Hybrid Plant but is also supplying a Fuel Save Controller.
This is to enable the system to have demand-driven control of solar power feed-in. Four newly designed inverters are also being delivered to handle large-scale battery storage systems that utilize lithium-ion technology. This will enable the facility to have a capacity of 5MWh of energy storage.
Six Sunny Central 800CP-XT solar inverters will be used aside from the newly designed inverters. The Sunny Central Storage 630 will be set up as the facility’s large-scale battery storage system.
The SMA PV-Diesel Hybrid Plan for the solar plant is for it to produce sufficient solar power to satisfy approximately half of the electricity demand in the capital of Cobija as well as the nearby towns located in northern Bolivia. At present, the locals are consuming around 37GWh of electricity every year.
Currently, the supply of electricity in these parts is being provided solely by electric generators because this region is not connected to the power grid. With the supply of equipment and technology from SMA, the locals will no longer be dependent on these generators for their energy needs.
The general contractor tasked with the construction of the SMA PV-Diesel Hybrid Plan is Isotron S.A.U. (ISASTUR Group). Empresa Nacional de Electricidad (ENDE), a Bolivian electric utility company owns the power plant. Taking charge of the project management is Electrica Guarachi S.A.
“The SMA Fuel Save Controller records the energy flows in the stand-alone grid and uses that information to determine the maximum permissible PV power,” stated Volker Wachenfeld, SMA Senior Vice President Off-Grid & Storage. “In this way, we can guarantee permanent system stability and ensure smooth control of the gen sets,” he added.
In the past, only around 80% of the Bolivian population enjoys the convenience of electricity. This is the reason why the Bolivian government now welcomes innovative methods of energy development and supply.
Hugo Sosa, government spokesman said that the goal of the government is to increase their energy access to about 95% by 2015. They hope that renewable energy will help the Bolivian government achieve this goal.
It will not be difficult for the country to reach this target. Bolivia satisfies all the technical requirements to make the SMA PV-Diesel Hybrid Plan succeed. The country is situated in a plateau, and is approximately 4,000 meters in altitude. That location receives sunshine most of the day.
A subsidiary in Santiago de Chile represents SMA is South America, including Bolivia. The total sale generated by this company in 2013 is over €930 million. At present it is the leading company in the world with regards to the production of solar inverters.
“We have…strengthened our position as the preferred partner for project developers, EPCs and financing banks in this attractive emerging market,” stated Thorsten Ronge, SMA General Manager, Sub-Sahara Production Pty Ltd.