Prefectural Gov't to Test Solar Panel Monitoring Technology

2019/10/03 12:27
Sousuke Kudou, technical writer
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The Komekurayama Verification Test Solar Power Plant (source: Yamanashi Prefecture)
Sensors attached to solar panels (source: Yamanashi Prefecture)
A gateway installed for the verification test (source: Yamanashi Prefecture)

The government of Yamanashi Prefecture announced Sept 3, 2019, that it will start a large-scale verification test of the "PPLC-PV" solar power generation (PV) facility maintenance/management technology at the Komekurayama Verification Test Solar Power Plant (output: 990kW) in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.

For the verification test, the government will cooperate with the University of Tokyo and Girasol Energy (Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo), which is a venture firm spun off from the university.

The PPLC-PV is a maintenance/management technology for PV facilities using power line communication (PLC) technology and IoT. An IoT sensor is set up for each panel, and data such as voltage and temperature are collected via a power line. As a result, it becomes possible to accurately know the degradation state of many panels.

With the PPLC-PV, it is not necessary to separately lay a communication network for monitoring devices, enabling to lower maintenance costs.

The prefectural government, the university and Girasol Energy already tested the PPLC-PV at a solar power plant (output: 99.9kW) located in Okano Park (prefectural park of Yamanashi Prefecture) and succeeded in, for example, detecting broken panels by using the technology.

They received a subsidy of ¥100 million (approx US$933,445) from New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) in June 2019 and plan to collect data over several years.

The Komekurayama Verification Test Solar Power Plant is equipped with 3,960 polycrystalline solar panels manufactured by Canadian Solar Inc, and it generates 1,351,000kWh of electricity per year. It started operation in September 2014. Thus far, grid connection combining a superconductive flywheel power storage system and PV system, grid connection combining a hybrid hydrogen storage battery and PV system, etc have been tested at the plant.