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Date: 5/8/2012

Photovoltaic Plant Management Solution in Italy

Market: Power & Energy
Location: Italy
Technology Partner: DIGIMAX

Project Introduction:

Our customer is a local system integrator with extensive experience in the photovoltaic market. Their customers are mainly, but not exclusively, public utilities (not only Italian ones) who are involved in this market area and applications. One of their main focuses is solar inverter manufacturing, which brings them most of their business. Recently, their business has grown more and more in this area and thanks to strong demand for environmental applications that growth is expected to continue. For this specific application, the customer was looking for different PC controllers based on the specific requirements of the plants, as well as one single and trusted partnership with an experienced and consolidated brand that can provide added value.

 

System Requirements:
The requirement of this specific application was to find different Embedded PC platforms with different consumption levels, but with low power specifications and fanless design in order to save costs, plus a compact design to save space. Other requirements included: 4 COM ports (3 x RS-485), 2 LAN ports, isolation and, last but not least, a competitive price. 

Another important key factor was the very good and reliable customer service and technical background of our partner DIGIMAX, together with the good reliability and quality of the products plus a solid estimated life cycle that could guarantee continuity with no high cost estimation for eventual upgrading.

Project Implementation:

Product

Description

UNO-1140

Embedded DIN-rail PC Controller with 1 x LAN and 4 x Isolated COM Ports

ARK-1310

Cost-effective Automation System Solution

ARK-3360

Embedded IPC with Intel Atom Processor and Isolated COM Ports

EKI-2725/2728

5/8-port Gigabit Unmanaged Ethernet Switch

System Diagram:

System Description:
This specific application involves three different photovoltaic plants, each of them with a dedicated data logger and a specific PC Controller. Each PC Controller helps to collect data, calculate parameters and forward all information to the central station though EKI-2725/2728, 5/ 8-port Gigabit Unmanaged Ethernet Switches for further monitoring. Depending on the power requirements and eventual data acquisition functions needed, three different PCs were adopted for different photovoltaic plants: the ARK-1310, cost-effective Automation System Solution; the ARK-3360, Intel® Atom™ High Value Automation Control Box; and the UNO-1140, Embedded DIN-rail PC Controller. In the end, all information is shown through a monitor and managed with proprietary HMI software made by the customer.

Conclusion:
The customer chose Advantech because of the high quality and reliability of all three systems whilst being able to reduce their costs. Also, our trusted partner, DIGIMAX was able to provide a high quality service and the necessary added value, including complementary supplies. Therefore, together, Advantech and DIGIMAX were able to provide an all-in-one vendor solution for Photovoltaic Plant Management.