Real-Time Monitoring System for a Utility-Scale Photovoltaic Power Plant

Sensors (Basel). 2016 May 26;16(6):770. doi: 10.3390/s16060770.


There is, at present, considerable interest in the storage and dispatchability of photovoltaic (PV) energy, together with the need to manage power flows in real-time. This paper presents a new system, PV-on time, which has been developed to supervise the operating mode of a Grid-Connected Utility-Scale PV Power Plant in order to ensure the reliability and continuity of its supply. This system presents an architecture of acquisition devices, including wireless sensors distributed around the plant, which measure the required information. It is also equipped with a high-precision protocol for synchronizing all data acquisition equipment, something that is necessary for correctly establishing relationships among events in the plant. Moreover, a system for monitoring and supervising all of the distributed devices, as well as for the real-time treatment of all the registered information, is presented. Performances were analyzed in a 400 kW transformation center belonging to a 6.1 MW Utility-Scale PV Power Plant. In addition to monitoring the performance of all of the PV plant's components and detecting any failures or deviations in production, this system enables users to control the power quality of the signal injected and the influence of the installation on the distribution grid.

Keywords: Photovoltaic distributed generation; embedded systems; power quality; real-time monitoring; wireless sensor network (WSN).