SMA Powering World’s Largest PV-Diesel Hybrid Plant

SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) is supplying solar inverters and other technology for the world’s largest PV-diesel hybrid power plant; currently being built in the Bolivian province of Pando. The facility will also incorporate 5MWh of energy storage.

In addition to the six Sunny Central 800CP-XT solar inverters, SMA is providing its Fuel Save Controller along with four of its newly developed inverters for large-scale battery storage systems, the Sunny Central Storage 630.

Volker Wachenfeld, Senior Vice President Off-Grid & Storage at SMA, says the Fuel Save Controller acts as a demand-driven controller of solar power feed-in to the interface between the diesel generator, solar panel array and power load.

“The SMA Fuel Save Controller records the energy flows in the stand-alone grid and uses that information to determine the maximum permissible PV power. In this way, we can guarantee permanent system stability and ensure smooth control of the gensets,” stated Mr. Wachenfeld.

Pando is not connected to the mains grid and up to this point has relied exclusively on expensive and polluting diesel generators that need to crank out around 37 GWh of electricity annually; an amount that is steadily increasing. According to SMA, Bolivia has significant potential for solar energy use as it experiences high irradiation levels.

In other recent news from SMA, the company announced it had commissioned a factory for Sunny Central inverters in Cape Town, South Africa. The facility was constructed to meet the local content requirements under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP).

“By beginning our local inverter production in time for the fourth round of the REIPPP Programme, we have once again strengthened our position as the preferred partner for project developers, EPCs and financing banks in this attractive emerging market,” said Thorsten Ronge, General Manager of SMA Sub-Sahara Production Pty Ltd.

SMA is one of the world’s largest and longest established inverter manufacturers. SMA solar inverters are a popular choice in Australian home and commercial solar power systems.