As Mauritius ploughs ahead with renewable energy projects under the Maurice Ile Durable scheme, the challenges are complex, and manifold.

Most recently, the island economy, which uses a 15.2-MWp solar power plant to stabilize its 66-kV grid network, roped in German energy engineering major, Skytron Energy, to integrate the plant into the country grid, a first for Mauritius.

“With this first ground-mounted plant we have proved to the country’s electricity authority that renewable energy enhances grid stability,” said André Pohl, CEO of Tauber Solar Energietechnik GmbH and Project Developer, who worked in partnership with Conecon GmbH for Skytron Energy’s project.

“Mauritius has a great solar outlook with a potential average radiation yield of some 6 kWh/m2 every day. The country has ambitious plans to reduce its dependence on imported petroleum products and encourages the advancement of solar power generation,” Pohl added.

Berlin-based Skytron Energy successfully commissioned its park controller in the photovoltaic plant near Bambous in the western Rivière Noire District, ensuring that Mauritius’ solar plant feeds into the country’s 66 kV grid and meets all the challenges that an island grid with its inherent imbalances typically entails.

To this end, skycontrol – which lies at the heart of Skytron’s energy management system – has executed a highly flexible control scheme.

“With Skytron energy we have found a highly competent partner whose expertise in flexibly adjusting their control system to local grid requirements has helped tremendously to integrate this first solar plant into the island’s electricity grid,” Pohl concluded.

Manual adjustment of grid feed parameters has also been made possible by RICC – Skytron Energy’s Remote Interface Control Center.

This user interface has been developed especially to meet the country’s method of grid control and stabilization – the control command messages are relayed by the Mauritius Central Electricity Board, and the plant operator must respond immediately by manually entering the new set points for power parameters.

The connection to the plant and the skycontrol controller is established directly via the local plant intranet or remotely by way of a secure VPN link.

Another important criterion for efficient, demand-driven power feed into the island grid is the knowledge of how much power can be generated and made available by the solar plant.

Accordingly, weather-model based production forecasts, updated several times a day, supplying estimates of hourly production for up to 5.5 days into the future are provided by the PVGuard performance analysis tool.

This SCADA platform is part of Skytron Energy’s real-time monitoring and supervision system installed in the Bambous plant, serving not only as the plant operator’s daily tool for remote alarm diagnostics but also offering all the functions necessary for reporting and long-term performance analysis.

Plant performance and all live data can also be viewed directly at the plant courtesy Skytron Energy’s on-site server skyserv LM which gives the operator instant access to actual values of all plant data at one-minute resolution. Also, the operator can view selected power data such as active, reactive and apparent power, frequency, current and power factor at one second intervals measured at the grid connection point.

Skytron Energy, headquartered in Berlin, Germany, has been developing integrated monitoring, control and supervision systems since 1977 and is now one of the leading suppliers in the industry, specializing in utility-scale and commercial power plants.

Till date, it has installed monitoring and control systems in more than 600 plants with a total capacity of 5 GWp.

The company’s core competencies are plant condition monitoring, power plant control, remote plant supervision, system migration of existing power plants, operation & maintenance, and PV asset management.

Image (Company): Mauritius’ 15.2-MWp solar power plant near Bambous now feeds into the country’s 66 kV grid and meets all the challenges that an island grid with its inherent imbalances typically entails.

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