ABB commissions substation automation system for world’s largest thin-film solar plant

MicroSCADA Pro and RTUs to enhance reliability and reduce maintenance costs

ABB has just announced the commissioning of a MicroSCADA Pro substation automation system installed in 2011 at the Lopburi photovoltaic solar power plant in central Thailand. The system integrates the plant's photovoltaic panels, inverters and meteorological sensors.


In addition to the MicroSCADA system, which monitors and controls the electrical systems in the plant and the power feed into the grid, ABB also provided a total of 29 RTUs (remote terminal units) and additional communications components that enable the plant's systems to send and receive information from the local grid.


With a capacity of 73 MW (direct current), Lopburi is the largest solar plant of its kind in the world. Its more than 500,000 thin-film panels cover an area equivalent to 250 football fields and produce enough electricity to supply up to 70 thousand households in Lopburi province, 150 km north-east of the Thai capital, Bangkok.

The protection and control systems installed by ABB will ensure smooth operations at the plant by providing information on conditions in the internal network, as well as in the local grid. This enables the fast identification and correction of disturbances, reducing the incidence and duration of outages, and reducing maintenance costs. By maximizing reliability, the system also helps Lopburi's operators to enhance productivity and enables them to comply with the regulatory requirements of the power utility, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

Thailand is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, a large portion of which are imported, so the commissioning of Lopburi is an important step for the country. During the plant's
25-year life span, it is expected to avoid the production of 1.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and cut fuel imports by more than 35,000 tonnes per year. The plant will make a significant contribution to the Thai government's aims to generate 20 percent of the country's electricity from renewable resources by 2020.


About the Project

The Project is a solar power project involving the development, construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of a 55 MW AC (net) PV solar power plant and its associated facilities by Natural Energy Development Co. Ltd (NED). The Project comprises arrays of solar PV panels, mounting structure, inverters, electrical systems, power monitoring and control units, ancillary equipment and an administrative building. It will sell the generated electricity to EGAT in accordance with SPP PPA.

Featured Product

Universal Robots - Collaborative Robot Solutions

Universal Robots - Collaborative Robot Solutions

Universal Robots is a result of many years of intensive research in robotics. The product portfolio includes the UR5 and UR10 models that handle payloads of up to 11.3 lbs. and 22.6 lbs. respectively. The six-axis robot arms weigh as little as 40 lbs. with reach capabilities of up to 51 inches. Repeatability of +/- .004" allows quick precision handling of even microscopically small parts. After initial risk assessment, the collaborative Universal Robots can operate alongside human operators without cumbersome and expensive safety guarding. This makes it simple and easy to move the light-weight robot around the production, addressing the needs of agile manufacturing even within small- and medium sized companies regarding automation as costly and complex. If the robots come into contact with an employee, the built-in force control limits the forces at contact, adhering to the current safety requirements on force and torque limitations. Intuitively programmed by non-technical users, the robot arms go from box to operation in less than an hour, and typically pay for themselves within 195 days. Since the first UR robot entered the market in 2009, the company has seen substantial growth with the robotic arms now being sold in more than 50 countries worldwide.