Mount Signal Solar is a 266MW (266MW-dc, 200MW-ac) utility-scale solar generation facility that is successfully operating after the beginning of its construction in November 2012. This project is sited on Calexico (Imperial Valley, California) and has been promoted by 8minutenergy Renewables and AES Solar. Mount Signal Solar is the first of three phases of an approximately 800 MW-dc/600MW-ac planned solar PV power project —currently the largest in the world.
For this facility, GPTech has provided its central control system named Power Plant Controller (PPC), a key element for grid control and stability. This device is required by the Californian normative of grid connection for PV plants higher than 21 MW of installed capacity.
GPTech PPC helps the plant to meet different technical requirements. On the one hand, PPC works on the active power. When the energy production in the electric grid is very high, it can be required to the PV plant the decrease of its production. For these cases, PPC curtails the maximum active power offered by the inverters to fulfil with this demand (active power absolute constraint). This device also regulates the rate at which the inverter produces active power and avoids that inverters increase its production very fast after a period of low production, what could produce disturbances in the PV plant (active power ramp-rate).
On the other hand, the PPC works on the reactive power. In this case, it offers voltage control to maintain the voltage within the edges required by the facility. In addition, it presents power factor control. This function sets the ratio of real power to apparent power, allowing for sourcing or sinking of VARs to maintain voltage and increase efficiency in the power system.
Mount Signal Solar farm is the third project in US in which GPTech participates. Previously, the company has supplied its solutions for "La Joya del Sol" and "Sol Orchard" PV plants. GPTech counts on an important pipeline in this market, where it expects to open a new sales engineering office in California during 2014.