ABB plant in Argentina the latest to harness solar power

2011-07-26 - The main factory complex in Valentín Alsina, Buenos Aires is the latest ABB building to generate clean solar power from photovoltaic (PV) panels.

By ABB Communications

A 160-square meter solar array was installed on the roof of the plant, and generates about 40 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year, or 40,000 kilowatt hours (KWh) per year. Peak generation capacity is 26 kilowatts (kw). The average annual electricity consumption of a typical West-European household is about 4,300 kWh/year.

Project engineers calculate the solar panels reduce the factory's energy costs by about 1.8 percent annually. At peak generation, they can meet about 5 percent of the plant's power needs. ABB engineers also calculate the power generated avoids nearly 24 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

“A project like this brings ABB's commitment to social responsibility to life, and underlines our sincere efforts to minimize the impact of our daily business on the areas where we operate,” said Christian Newton, ABB's acting country manager in Argentina.

In 2009, ABB in Argentina put together a strategic environmental plan. The goal is to find ways of optimizing the use of resources by applying ABB's own technical and operational ability to the company's industrial operations.

The factory complex in Valentín Alsina, Buenos Aires is the latest ABB building to install photovoltaic (PV) panels, which generate about 40,000 kilowatt hours (KWh) of electricity per year. At peak generation, the panels supply about 5 percent of the plant's power needs.
Other ABB buildings that have installed solar generating capacity include a low-voltage factory in Nelamangala, India; a drives factory in Helsinki, Finland; and ABB's head office and manufacturing complex in Modderfontein, South Africa.

"This was an interesting and challenging project, as ABB was both supplier and customer," said Duilio Magi, project manager. "We had to assemble a team and come up with a scope and delivery time that satisfied the final user, which was us. I want to thank my colleagues for their collaboration and flexibility, which helped us solve every difficulty and improve the final results of this project."

For the Buenos Aires factory ABB engineers designed six rows of 18 PV panels each, connected in series, as well as the structural frames holding the panels in place on the terrace. Building-installed PV systems are fine examples of distributed power generation, which helps to reduce the amount of electricity removed from the grid during peak daytime hours, increasing grid stability.

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