UK – 2.5MW Solar Enabled at Constrained Airport

GridGEM Enables Solar Project at Southend Airport, Solving Significant Physical & Connection Constraints

Overview & Client Problems

Syzygy Renewables ( contracted Argand Solutions to install our GridGEM constraints management solution to enable the connection of a 2.5MWp solar photovoltaics (PV) system at the airport. The airport site had a 200 kW Grid export constraint. This project was made complex due to the existence of multiple high voltage (HV) incoming electrical supplies and, more importantly, the physical problem that the inverters were located 2km away from the main Grid connection point with a runway between the 2 locations.

The DNO would not allow the project to go ahead unless a solution could be found to monitor the multiple HV Grid connection points simultaneously, aggregate them together, and then communicate with, and control, the inverters in a way that was acceptable by the DNO to meet G100 requirements. This meant solving the issue of communicating with the inverters by getting a signal to them via the runway obstacle.

The client also needed data to provide assurance and reporting for the airport who owned the system.



Argand’s Solution

Argand designed, built and delivered a turnkey GridGEM export limitation control solution for the project. Argand implemented their “no shut down” HV monitoring solution (which was approved by the DNO) - this ensured that the airport did not need to be shut-down when the system was connected. Argand solved the comunication issue between the main Grid connection points and the inverters by developing a communications technology that converted an existing coper wire into an ethernet network to ensure that data could be transferred between the 2 points quickly enough. The GridGEM technology used this communication solution to ensure that the system met the DNO’s response time requirements. The output of the solar inverters across the physically distant locations was managed dynamically and utilised a “fail safe” if the solar could not be reduced quickly enough due to on-site rapid power fluctuations. The GridGEM solution was fully G100 and G59 (G99 now) compliant.

Client Benefits

The result has been to enable the client to install solar PV within a complex HV site network without the need for a shut down or to significantly upgrade the HV sub-stations. The project would not have gone ahead if the client did not have a solution that could meet all the complex needs. This has meant that the project has been able to take place - leading to significant electrical energy cost savings and CO2 reductions at the site.