Roberto Caspani, a systems integrator in the province of Bergamo (Italy) has created a monitoring system for 20 photovoltaic plants. The solution is based upon the products offered by the Belgian company eWON, and inserting them in the Energ&metrY integrated solution (www.energemetry.net).
The advantage of eWON is that it provides a wide variety of built-in features, that it can be adapted to the user’s needs and easily configured with a few lines of code
Roberto Caspani, a systems integrator in the province of Bergamo (Italy) has created a monitoring system for 20 photovoltaic plants. The solution is based upon the products offered by the Belgian company eWON, and inserting them in the Energ&metrY integrated solution (www.energemetry.net)..
Medium voltage monitored by remote management system
“The problems with a medium to large photovoltaic system are related, first and foremost, to the connection to the medium-voltage line, which could be subject to voltage or frequency variations” the engineer stated. “The management offered by the monitoring system, in this case, must promptly report these variations so that action can be taken immediately over the Internet, even with just a Smartphone or a tablet”.
Caspani explains how the monitoring and the alarms which signal deviation of the medium voltage are fundamental within a photovoltaic system, because they let maintenance personnel know in a very short time - in this case about ten seconds - which system has a fault, which area it is in and with which parameters, so that they can take action to solve the problem.
eWON, the core of the monitoring system
“You must remember that there are a lot of people involved in a photovoltaic system” Caspani says. “First and foremost there is the end customer, who must be guaranteed plant productivity through the monitoring system reports. The second figure is the maintenance operator for the physical infrastructure with all of its components – panels, inverters, cabling, cables, panel cleaning, fencing. Then there is the security company that manages alarms which the plant generates: personnel who are notified immediately in case of burglary attempts and who arrange to have a patrol sent on site. Unfortunately this is an event which has occurred often recently, especially theft of panels or cables. The fourth and final player is the alarm system maintenance operator who checks and repairs sensors and video cameras”.
The sum of these figures revolves around the eWON router, which therefore becomes the core of the system and is used to its maximum potential.
On site connectivity is guaranteed by the cellular HSUPA band. In fact, the eWON router is equipped with a 7.2 Mb download and 5.76 Mb upload HSUPA communicator. This kind of connectivity eliminates the need for other solutions such as Wi-Fi or Wi-Max, which in any case may or may not cover the site concerned, and which have significantly higher costs if they are available.
Thanks to this band, streaming video can be used, both in real time and delayed, accessing the digital video recorder at the system site, whilst eWON acts as a gateway for all the technological components on site, including the security system.
A SCADA system for real time monitoring
The advantage of eWON is that it provides a wide variety of built-in features, that it can be adapted to the user’s needs and easily configured with a few lines of code: web servers which provide access to all the eWON parameters but above all variables monitored by the plant, customised screens, addition of your own logo. As regards this, Caspani also explains how, thanks to the availability of most of the industrial protocols managed by eWON, it was also possible to develop a distributed SCADA which simultaneously interrogates all the eWON devices in the field and returns a rea l time situation report on all the systems. The simultaneous display of all the systems with a centralised database was developed in the Energ&metrY digital platform which provides, in addition to immediate accessibility, additional functions such as production reports, all the system databases, a periodic maintenance and post-processing log which guarantees plant performance analysis, heavily influenced by the ambient temperature and ageing in addition to irradiation.
Ease of programming, rapid configuration, reliability of the obj ects: eWON is the ideal solution for systems integration organisations because it allows an application to be developed in the least possible amount of time.