Flexible solar power solutions ideal for remote generation sites

A distinct advantage of solar power generation is its design flexibility.

Solar technology is very scalable and  can be installed virtually anywhere, from residential rooftops to vast desert solar plants capable of generating hundreds of megawatts of power.

Reliability and design flexibility make solar especially ideal for remote locations, and as a supplement to other forms of power generation. In this regard, remote or isolated electrical systems in fact represent one of the biggest growth areas for solar generation systems.

These include electrical systems on islands, at mine sites or in remote off-grid communities. For the most part, these sites get their electricity locally using generators that burn fossil fuels; alternatively, power is imported via expensive transmission infrastructure.

Solar generation systems are a technically and economically viable alternative power source in each of these scenarios, and help solve a number of power supply issues.

For example, island populations dependent on burning imported fossil fuels for electricity are eagerly searching for ways to reduce dependence on outside fuel sources and uncertainty about future energy costs. Power integration technology can maximize the use of renewable energy resources like solar (often abundant at these locations) to deliver stable, high-quality power to the grid.

For remote work sites such as mining operations, key issues are reliability and risk mitigation, and the challenge is to integrate renewable generation into the local energy system without risking the availability and performance of the overall system. Here a microgrid solution can reliably integrate and control solar, wind and diesel generation, without impacting system performance.

In remote and isolated communities, concerns are often related to environmental impact and energy independence. Many indigenous communities have a very special relationship with the environment they live in. The ability to generate power via renewable sources is perfectly aligned with their view of the world and the impact they want to have on their environment.

Power consumers are attracted to alternative generation sources like solar energy. This unlimited, free “fuel” is one of the best ways to ensure that energy dependence is significantly reduced.

Solar energy can be integrated into electrical systems that produce stable, high quality power from a mix of generation sources, providing a dependable, stable off-grid power supply.

Whether the goal is to reduce fuel consumption of existing generators, to lower fuel costs and the long-term unpredictability of those costs, to increase energy independence, or to minimize environmental impact, solar generated power offers a promising and reliable solution.


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About the author

Pablo Astorga

As ABB’s Global Sales Manager Microgrids, I am responsible for developing complete microgrid solutions for our customers around the world. I have nearly a decade of extensive international experience in renewable energy and joined the company in 2006 in Spain. I lived in the U.S. between 2009 and 2014 and in 2015 I relocated back to Europe, from where I lead ABB’s efforts to address the increasing need to integrate renewable energy into hybrid microgrids.
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