Mitigating climate change: Enabling solar power to drive high-impact projects

Two high-impact projects in just one city – Vadodara in Gujarat state – highlight how ABB technologies are enabling the use of solar energy in different ways, and supporting the government’s ambitious plans to rapidly increase its reach in India.

Both projects align with ABB’s commitments to produce energy efficient technologies and advance the spread and integration of renewable sources of power – targets embedded in both the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and in ABB’s own Sustainability Objectives for 2020.

In the first project, on the outskirts of Vadodara, an innovative and space-efficient 10-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) power plant has been built over the banks of a 3.6-kilometer stretch of irrigation canal. The plant, set up by the Gujarat State Electricity Corporation, not only generates a significant amount of emission-free energy, but also minimizes water evaporation in the canal and saves about 50 acres of agricultural land that would otherwise have been used for the solar field.

In addition, the water in the canal helps to cool down the solar panel surfaces which improves their efficiency, leading to higher power generation output.

ABB provided integrated electrical balance of plant (EBoP) and automation solutions for the photovoltaic power plant. The technologies included central inverters, transformers, indoor and outdoor switchyards and the connection to the local distribution network.

ABB has long been at the forefront of India’s growing solar power push – providing integrated power and automation solutions for more than 10 utility-scale PV power plants, ranging from a generating capacity of between 1 MW and 50 MW.

In a second project announced in Vadodara in 2016, ABB decided to walk the talk at its own site in the city – the largest ABB manufacturing hub in India with about 3,000 people producing critical power equipment.

A containerized microgrid installation is being installed, including a 600 kW rooftop solar PV field and a PowerStore battery grid stabilizing system, along with a dedicated control system to help maximize the use of solar energy.

Energy generated during the day will augment power from the grid and reduce dependency on diesel generators in case of grid outages. The consequence: a lower carbon footprint and substantial cost savings on electricity bills.

The potential of microgrid solutions was also highlighted in 2016 when ABB signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras to enter a technical cooperation to build microgrids, as well as joint research and development in the field of rural electrification, utilization of natural non-fossil resources, battery energy storage and their connection to loads and main grid.

ABB is a pioneer in microgrid technology with more than 30 global installations across a diverse range of applications serving remote communities, islands, utilities and industrial campuses. ABB demonstrated the potential of microgrids at its Automation and Power World customer event in New Delhi in 2015 when the company exhibited the first multisource microgrid pilot. Over a period of three days, 1,350 kilograms of carbon dioxide was saved and enough electricity was generated to power approximately 12,000 rural households.