Solar energy has seen a dramatic increase in installations and integration over the past decade. During this time, our governments have encouraged and promoted a greater use of renewable energy sources, including solar photovoltaic (PV) cells for electricity generating projects.
These systems can contain thousands of connected devices from a variety of vendors from many different areas around the globe. In order for these components to be synchronized and controlled, a SCADA system is required to manage and collect data relating to the operations of the system. For the Summerside Recreation Complex, they wanted to use the space on their facilities roof to install this renewable energy resource.
The Recreation Center was in need of a SCADA system for easy control and monitoring purposes. This called for a robust SCADA architecture which could be quickly rolled out. From a maintenance and operational perspective, the data needed to be able to be clouded, providing the ability to quickly identify and correct any systemic issues. Most of the devices throughout the system were run using Modbus communications, which is a commonly available means of connecting industrial devices.
To bring all of these components online, a system needed to be deployed that would connect and gather the needed data, communicating with all of the devices.
Our control division worked to create a system that would provide the manager, the most straight forward experience. The system would intelligently aggregate data, enabling the user to quickly ascertain meaning from the information. We added an Allen Bradley Compactlogix PLC as a data concentrator, and a Prosoft Card to talk to all the different devices. All the information from the weather station, 6 inverters, and the battery system was passed through our PLC to be read by the SCADA system.
Ignition software was installed to create a gateway to directly connect to the installed devices and hundreds of I/O tags. From our design and installation, reliable reports could be created from the analyses of the data from the strings of solar panels. This would highlight the efficiencies of the system, in order to equip the managers the information to track and manage the operation.