Sunday, December 23, 2012

Puerto Rico Solar Power Plant Built to Withstand Hurricanes, Deliver Power Reliably in All Types of Weather

With the delivery of 26 megawatts (MW) of Canadian Solar’s CS6P-P high-performance PV panels, Spain’s TSK Solar is on track to bring online Uriel Renewables-Coqui Power LLC’s San Fermin solar power plant in the northeastern Puerto Rico town of Loiza. The Loiza solar power project is notable in several aspects of its design, engineering, and construction. It should be online by December of this year.

This is expected to be the first PV project on the Caribbean island to meet the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) technical requirements that grid-connected power systems enable both active and reactive power regulation. The frequency of electricity put out by the Loiza PV plant “will be adjustable and the voltage can be modulated at the grid connection point to accommodate any sudden fluctuations in solar intensity,” Canadian Solar explains in a press release.

The solar power plant is also noteworthy in that it’s equipped with its own predictive weather station. That enables the Loiza PV system to manage sudden increases or decreases in incident sunlight that would cause fluctuations in electricity output.

Weather-Proof Solar Grid Power?

TSK Solar and project development partner Uriel Renewables also had to design and build a utility-scale PV system capable of withstanding a variety of extreme and adverse weather conditions, from hurricanes to flooding, as well as one whose foundations span a variety of soil types.

Addressing these issues, Loiza’s Canadian Solar PV panels are mounted on structures 2-4 meters above ground level capable of withstanding winds of up to 260 kilometers per hour (kph) (~162 mph). In addition to its voltage control mechanisms, the PV plant’s also being built with 40% overcurrent capacity and a back-up energy storage system, explained TSK general manager Roberto Montes.

“Given this highly demanding environment, the high-quality and durability of Canadian Solar’s modules was essential in meeting the strict requirements for us and our development partner, Uriel,” stated Roberto Montes, General Manager of TSK Solar. “Thanks to the robustness of our PV components, the new installation will help further stabilize Puerto Rico’s electrical grid.”

Added Canadian Solar CEO chairman Dr. Shawn Qu: “We continue to expand our global presence in markets that are attractive from a financial perspective and where we can work with strong local partners to ensure success. We are excited to be involved with innovative solar power plants, like the one in Loiza, as they showcase solar an option for a much wider range of markets with challenging energy needs.”

Strong and steady offshore winds also make eastern Puerto Rico a good wind power location. In late August, Spain’s Gestamp Wind announced that its 23-MW Punta de Lima wind farm at Naguabo near El Yunqe National Forest in eastern coastal Puerto Rico is nearing the half-way completion mark. It’s estimated that the Punta de Lima wind farm will provide enough clean, renewable power for 9,000 homes.


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