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Innovative solar park solutions power the global energy transition
Olivier Dervout, Nexans Global Market Director Power Generation and Alain Robic, CEO of Nexans Solar Technologies, explain how a developing portfolio of cables, harnesses and trackers is helping developers of solar parks to boost their output while optimizing investment and operating costs.
Nexans is fully committed to supporting the global energy transition by working closely with developers, installers and operators to expand our Nexans Keylios® solar products portfolio that provides full end-to-end energy, data cabling and tracker solutions. This includes solar copper cable, low-voltage (LV) direct current (DC) underground aluminum cable, medium-voltage (MV) alternating current (AC) cables for grid connections, pre-connected jumpers and solar trackers – all supported by a dedicated Services & Solutions team. The focus is on easy installation and decreased on-site risks to offer substantial CAPEX and OPEX savings.
solar capacity in Australia
Produced by the six solar farms
The sun rises on Australia’s solar power market
Australia is enjoying a boom period with its solar power capacity set to almost double to over 12GW. Nexans is playing a key role in this growth by supplying specialized power cables for the country’s solar farms. Recently, contracts have been completed for six major new projects in the states of Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW).
The six cable supply contracts covered the supply of medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV) direct current (DC) cables for the Kiamal, Susan River, Childers, Oakey II, Nevertire and Middlemount solar farm projects. The scope of supply covered a wide range of Keylios products including underground 33kV cables, underground 1,500V low voltage cables, photovoltaic (PV) under-array cables, underground data cables, inverter to transformer connectors, communication, tracker controls and associated accessories.
We worked with the solar farm EPC Contractor throughout the design stages of all six projects to provide specialist engineering support, covering standards and specifications as well as cable and system design support. The power and control cabling was manufactured and supplied by our China plant in Yanggu and our Olex plant in Lilydale, Australia, supported by a range of Nexans Olex specialist manufacturing partners. All the underground power cables incorporate the Nexans Olex EcoTerm™ solution that provides an effective barrier to degradation from termites.
The generating capacity of the six solar farms will total 672 MW, enough electricity to power over 600,000 homes. They were commissioned between 2019 and early 2020 and we are continuing to invest in ongoing cable testing and innovation to meet the requirements of Australia’s renewable energy projects.
Harness solution for a 15 percent reduction in solar farm LV DC cabling costs
Building on our expertise in cables for solar projects, we designed the new Keylios Photovoltaic Harness to help developers, installers and operators of utility-scale solar farms cut the LV DC cabling costs for their photovoltaic modules. This is a key consideration because a solar farm can require huge amounts of LV DC cable, more than 4,000 kilometers for the largest sites. Less cabling makes it possible to reduce the size and cost of components, such as connection boxes. Smarter use of materials also limits the overall environmental impact of the installation.
Specifying a harness removes the need for cables to be cut to length on site, as the complete assembly of cables and connectors is manufactured under controlled factory conditions and delivered ready to fit. This offers both improved quality and reliability by reducing the number of connection points – 50 percent of all faults on solar farms are due to cables and connectors. Furthermore, the very significant reduction in installation time and material wastage can reduce the overall cost of LV DC cabling by up to 15 percent.
Each Keylios Photovoltaic Harness is sized and manufactured on a bespoke basis and delivered as an easy to handle kit that ensures it will be a perfect match for the customer’s installation. It is also ready to connect, with no cutting or crimping required on site
To ensure maximum quality and reliability, the harnesses are manufactured under factory controlled conditions using Nexans’ Energyflex® cables designed specifically for use in solar plants. The cables are precision cut and joints ultrasonically welded, decreasing potential defects significantly. Junctions and inline fuses are overmolded to meet the IP67 rating.
Our global footprint means that Keylios Photovoltaic Harnesses can be delivered for any project worldwide. The harnesses can also be manufactured in-country for customers who need to maximize the local content of their projects.
Keylios solar trackers follow the sun
Nexans Solar Technologies (NST), Nexans’ newest subsidiary, is an internal startup created in 2018 as part of our strategic plan for the global transition to renewable energies. It aims to offer added-value products and services to key players in the sector, notably power producers and investors. The Keylios Solar Tracker developed by NST features a disruptive design that brings increased value to solar developers.
Solar trackers optimize the output of large scale commercial solar parks by enabling their solar panels to follow the sun’s daily path across the sky. Typically, using trackers will increase the electricity output of a solar park by 15 to 25 percent compared to fixed structures. A particular advantage of the Keylios Solar Tracker is the robust truss beam structure designed specifically to support a double vertical row of modules(2V) while withstanding the higher wind loading that results from this configuration. Climatic forces cause some 50 percent of the failures in solar parks, and this will therefore increase the reliability and life of the asset.
The second critical feature of the Keylios Solar Tracker is that it only needs two foundations for a typical 36 kW array, while a conventional design would need three to five times more. The design enables a firm concrete foundation to be used on unstable ground where it would not be feasible or permissible to drill piles down to the bedrock.
With a record 119 gigawatts (GW) installed, solar photovoltaic power was the world’s largest new build energy resource in 2019.Yet, finding new sites for solar farms could be a limiting factor for its future growth. Nexans Keylios solar trackers could provide the enabling technology to answer this challenge. Indeed, the Keylios tracker opens up exciting possibilities to locate solar parks in locations that were previously impractical, such as old landfill sites or quarries and other unstable industrial wastelands, especially where the ground is sloping or uneven.
The Keylios Solar Tracker enables an array of solar modules to tilt through an angle from –60 degrees east to +60 degrees west along a north-south axis. In high winds, the array can be brought to a safe horizontal position to reduce its exposure and can also be tilted to a high inclination in winter to prevent snow adhering to the modules or to help the cleaning operation. They also offer a better compatibility with upcoming bifacial modules.
A single-axis design like the Keylios Solar Tracker, when deployed on the utility scale, delivers the lowest Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) compared to any other power generation technology.
of east - west cover
Solar trackers for Reden’s solar parks in France
NST’s first contract for solar trackers was signed with Reden, a major player in the development of photovoltaic projects and a supplier of fully integrated energy. Over 800 will be installed at Reden’s next four solar parks, located in the southwest of France, with a combined peak capacity of 26MWp.
The project is being carried out in partnership with Omexom ENR SO, the Toulouse-based subsidiary of Vinci group specializing in renewable energy that is responsible for the construction of the parks, including the assembly and installation of the trackers.
For more information: www.nexans.com/business/Industry---Solutions/Solar.html