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Open Source SCADA Systems for Your Solar Power Plant

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Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition "SCADA" Systems for Utility Scale PV Systems (including Power Plant Controller)

Nor-Cal Controls understands the need for efficient, scalable SCADA systems for PV plants. The SCADA system, after all, is the nerve center of any utility-scale solar operation. But asset owners don’t have to deal with a massive upfront cost to get a SCADA system they can rely on for the next 15 to 25 years. This is where we come in.

Our open-source SCADA system delivers industry-leading performance while allowing flexibility and scalability. It integrates well with third-party programs, giving you the freedom to choose supplemental software that suits your budget. With our open-architecture system, we help lower your total cost of system ownership.

Full Control to Meet Any PPA, Utility and Owner Requirements

Nor-Cal’s turnkey SCADA systems include a Power Plant Controller, which enables site-wide substation and individual inverter and device level control, meeting all controls functionality requirements per the project specifications.

Our standard control implementation includes, but is not limited to: MW Curtailment, Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR), Power Factor, VAR Control, Droop, Voltage Droop, Breaker and CAP Bank Control. We also provide automation of ADS interface/system if the resource is participating in the CAISO market.

SCADA System for Solar Power Plants — The Nor-Cal Advantages

Local Human Machine Interface (HMI) for Operators

Our local, on-site SCADA server comes installed with high-performance HMI software, programmed with custom tailored HMI graphical screens. The Nor-Cal HMI/SCADA allows operators to gain total visibility and control over all site inverters and devices. Includes real-time and historical alarm viewer.

Local Historian for Database Querying and Report Generation

Our local, on-site historian server comes installed with historian software, enabling operators and project stakeholders to perform analysis on performance as well as aid in troubleshooting site issues.. Our SCADA control systems aggregates and archives process data for smarter operational decisions.

Automatic Alarm Notification

Automatically receive critical alarm notifications (Email and SMS Text) for all devices monitored by the Nor-Cal SCADA system. Configure alarm recipients and escalation schemes, based on alarm priority.

Highly Customizable

As with all of Nor-Cal’s integrated solutions, each Nor-Cal SCADA system solution is fully customizable and tailored to meet all project and application-specific requirements. Using best practices within the industry, our solutions are designed to meet our customer’s unique needs and preferences.

Open Architecture; No “Black Box” Proprietary Solutions

Nor-Cal’s SCADA system solutions are all open architecture (open source), utilizing accessible, “off the shelf,” hardware and software components.

Customers have the peace of mind knowing that their system will continue to be supported throughout the life of their project, with many accessible options regarding maintenance and upgrades into the future.

Seamlessly Integrate with Third-Parties

Integrate with third-party off-takers, including Utility entities and O&M providers, utilizing our built-in OPC, Modbus, and DNP3 device communication protocols.

How SCADA Systems Power Your Solar PV Plant

SCADA systems increase the overall efficiency and performance of your solar power plant by:

Optimizing Power Generation Monitoring

The performance of a solar power plant mainly relies on how much energy it can generate according to location, orientation, and energy conversion efficiency — and whether this amount is close to the projected data.

The SCADA system is initialized at installation using plant design data: solar panels’ peak power, inverted specifications, and other parameters to monitor energy generation in real time. After installation, the system will be continuously fed with local weather data to calculate the expected energy production of a plant at all operating levels. The SCADA system will then provide an automatic comparison between the projected and actual real-time production figures, giving you an accurate measure of your plant performance as well as helping to target areas of poor performance and equipment misoperation.

This centralized precise data from the SCADA monitoring, makes it easier and faster for operators to make critical operational decisions. A quick response helps keep the plant running in compliance and efficiently.

Mitigating Operational Downtime

The SCADA architecture includes programmable logic controllers like PLCs and/or remote terminal units (RTUs). These are hardware systems that communicate with HMIs, sensors, substation IED’s and other devices, and then route the information from those devices to computers with SCADA software.

This realtime interface to all field and electrical control devices allows for full visibility into issues and resolving the problem quickly, the operators can prevent further issues and reduce operational downtime.

Our open-architecture SCADA solutions will help you harness the maximum energy potential of your solar PV plant and streamline powerplant monitoring regardless of size.

Monitoring System Match-up: SCADA vs. DAS

Increasing demand for solar power means greater reliance on stable power generation. PV plant monitoring helps avoid inadequate power production that may result in energy fluctuation in consumers’ homes or offices. But is SCADA the best monitoring system to get the job done? How about implementing DAS, instead?

System Comparison

SCADA is a real-time polling system that helps operators make real-time decisions. It requires constant communication between the host computer and each remote terminal unit (RTU) in a solar facility.

Data Acquisition Systems (DAS), on the other hand, monitor and collect real-time data upon the request of the host computer. For instance, if there’s a need to measure a field parameter, such as air temperature or solar irradiance, once every five seconds, the host computer sends a request for this every five seconds.

If the focus of the PV plant is to only acquire data for each parameter, DAS provides easy remote monitoring. But if you want real-time tracking and control of your plant’s performance, SCADA could be a better option.

Data Integrity

A DAS employing RTUs that are data recorders maintain its collected data at the remote sites, even when data is transferred frequently to the host. If the communication link goes down, data acquisition by RTUs continues.

SCADA systems have evolved to provide a robust set of tools that prevent any alteration of system data collection, whether it’s intentional or unintentional. With our system’s open-architecture, asset owners can boost data integrity with the integration of third-parties, such as audit trail functions and other security features.

A DAS application works best for monitoring certain RTUs and field parameters. But when it comes to keeping an eye for an entire utility-scale solar power plant at all times, SCADA systems can get the job done.

Need more help in choosing the right monitoring system? Reach out to us today.

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