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Work in progress for Cat and Al-Bahar?s first regional solar facility in Dubai

With objectives to reduce carbon footprint, conserve energy by utilisation of a much cleaner energy source, the project aims to set up a PV plant that can be used for regional microgrid training activities. (Image source: Al-Bahar)

Al-Bahar has completed its first solar photovoltaic (PV) project with Caterpillar Middle East, which includes design, installation and commissioning of a grid-tied solar PV plant for their regional facility. Assuring sustainable development with a cost-effective solution, the company is now awaiting the commissioning of the maiden solar project for Caterpillar Distribution Services Europe

Inspired by the initiative Shams Dubai ? DEWA?s first smart initiative to connect solar energy to buildings, a part of the Distributed Renewable Resources Generation programme, the project intends to enable the facility to reduce dependency on grid power.

With objectives like reduction of carbon footprint, energy conservation by utilisation of a much cleaner energy source, the project aims to set up a PV plant that can be used for regional microgrid training activities. It is expected to provide Caterpillar Distribution Services 237MWH Energy Yield annually, for the next 25 years. The project also supports Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 ? according to which the emirate aims to meet 75 per cent of its needs through solar energy, by 2050.

Situated in a global sunbelt, scalable solar and microgrid solutions are always a profitable alternative to power needs. The project is the first solar ground installation in JAFZA for a training centre in the region. In addition to ground installations, the project also includes panels on a six-metre high canopy that offers shade for generators.

The 138 KWp plant will cover 1,700 sqm, which can accommodate 1,200 Caterpillar 115Wp thin film solar PV modules. Cat? Photovoltaic Module PVT 115 with an efficiency of around 16 per cent, have been utilised for the project. The thin film technology has an advantage over other technologies like multi-crystalline. The modules generate more energy than competing modules with the same power rating. The PV panels lower your cost of energy ? reducing utility bills for grid-connected installations. Due to ?Superior Temperature Co-efficient? and better spectral response the Cat technology thin film modules produce seven per cent more power as compared to the conventional silicon modules in hot and humid climatic conditions.

In the future expansion, the system will include two modes of operations ? namely Grid Connected and Microgrid Modes ? where the system can be seen performing with the Gensets to reduce the fuel consumption. The system is developed in a way to connect to the state-owned electricity grid. The energy produced in the day will either be consumed by the Caterpillar learning facility or will be fed to the utility grid through a bi-directional meter. This means that in times of high power consumption, the Cat facility can seamlessly source the additional requirement from the government-owned electricity grid. Conversely, in times where facility power consumption is lighter, the solar-generated power will be used to supplement the city grid, allowing for deductions on overall government utility bills for the District facility.

The project includes four 25kW inverters and one 20kW inverter, offering a total of 120kW AC. Al-Bahar, has run several simulations which indicates the current set-up and use of technology best suit the regional weather conditions, offering optimal results. For hassle-free operations, Cat MMC-M ? a remote web-based monitoring system has been utilised for the project. The complete system will be monitored remotely using Cat Connect Technology to provide real-time monitoring of the performance and health of the installation.

Utility of solar installation for power requirements includes a high level of cleaning and maintenance, especially in Dubai where sandstorms and dusty winds are a frequent phenomenon. Soiling is the third most important PV performance factor, after insolation and temperature. Considering this aspect, frameless CAT modules are offering an advantage on cleaning and maintenance. Also, use of Manual Dry Brush Trolley has made dry cleaning much easier and beneficial for the region with limited water availability.

Enabling further opportunities and growth in solar power offerings, Al-Bahar has new projects under progress leading to increasing expertise in the domain.

To read more about Cat Solar and Microgrid solutions, visit systems/microgrid