Design, Installation, and Initial Performance of 350-KW Photovoltaic Power System for Saudi Arabian Villages
This paper summarizes the design, fabrication, installation and initial performance of the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant. The installation of this system was completed in August 1981, and a month later it began providing electrical power to three remote villages in Saudi Arabia. The facility includes a 350-kW photovoltaic array, l-MW diesel powered generators, 1.6-MW-hr lead acid batteries, a 300-kVA inverter, dc and ac switchgear, 13.8-kV transformers, control and data acquisition subsystems, and solar and weather monitoring subsystem. The PV array is a point focusing concentrator type which uses an acrylic Fresnel lens with a geometric concentration ratio of 40. The system operates in stand-alone and cogeneration modes and is capable of completely automatic operation. The most significant aspects of the project to date are as follows: 1) the turn-key operation was completed within 19 months after contract go-ahead, 2) array dc power output exceeded 375-kW in February 1982 at an array field efficiency of 10.4%, 3) concentrator array module progressed from development stage to a commercial high production type within a year, and 4) it has the first operational array field to employ optical concentrators. With essentially trouble-free shipping, installation, and start-up operations, the project demonstrated that the PV system is an excellent candidate as a rapidly deployable dispersed power generator in remote areas with no utility transmission system.
KeywordsSaudi Arabia Solar Array Load Demand Diesel Generator Cogeneration Mode
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