The goal is to establish the study, measurement, analysis and trial of water extraction for the purpose of irrigation via utilization of grid-connected solar photovoltaic energy.
This project is carried out by the Electric Energy Institute (IEE) at the University of San Juan (UNSJ) together with the company DECSA (“Anonymous Society of Electric Distribution of Caucete”), EPSE, and the Ministry of Energy Resources (DRE). Financing comes from Idea (“Applied Provincial Research Program”), EPSE, and the San Juan Banking Foundation. The study was carried out in the department (county) of Caucete in the province of San Juan.
The project goals must be mentioned first.
The joining of research, results and recommendations coming from the installation of a grid-connected PV pilot system for water pumping, carrying out of practice runs, and the obtaining of measurements in order to set guidelines for technical-administrative needs, will all permit the incorporation of grid-connected PV within the agricultural industry.
-Analyze the water-pumping systems in the Caucete region, studying characteristics like number of wells, energy demand from the wells, water flow rate, water table depth, etc.
-Analyze, evaluate and define the distribution of each part of the PV installation together with the pumping system, choosing pumps that are technologically efficient for pumping water.
-Install systems for measuring energy sent to the grid and systems to measure the collection of partial internal measurements.
-Perform practice runs on the equipment.
-Perform measurement campaigns and closely follow the variables potentially affecting service and operational quality.
-Analyze strategies for sending energy before and after consumption via the pump.
-Take note of aspects found in each stage of the process that could be useful towards defining regulations from a technical and administrative point of view towards elaborating a Technical-Administrative Procedure for soliciting grid connection, including the end-user, from the distribution company and regulating entity.
-Perform technical and economical evaluation. Analyze the current tariff of the subsidies received by the agricultural irrigation sector through the FCT (Tariff Compensation Fund) and propose alternatives for use of this subsidy for financing PV systems for pumping or special tariffs for PV generation.
-Regarding these bullets—the first two mentioned have been completed, the 3rd and 4th are underway, as well as the 7th.
A meteorological station was procured and has been installed on-site. Currently it is compiling information such as solar radiation, wind velocity and direction, temperature, humidity, etc. It has been doing so for over a year and a half. The information is analyzed and compared with that received from the two other meteorological stations, one of which is at the DECSA branch (data as of 3 years) and the other at an IEE branch (data as of 10 years).
The support structures for the modules (four metallic structures for the 62 modules) were designed, constructed and installed in the area set aside for the project, with the installation finalizing in September of 2015.
60 PV panels will be installed out of the 62 obtained. Testing on the panels was done simultaneous to their installation.
Low-Voltage Transmission Line – PV System—Pumping Equipment:
For various reasons, the project was relocated to a region where it is possible to connect a low-voltage line of about 800 m to said lugar in order to perform the necessary drilling at the pump location to extract water for the process. This line was relatively expensive ($100,000) that was impossible to undertake in this project, and was therefore taken on by DECSA as it is their land.
Voltage Inverter and Monitoring Equipment:
The inverter was purchased via a tendering process that involved participation from national and international bidders. The inverter corresponds to the monitoring equipment. An international bidder won as their bid was significantly lower than the national bidders. The equipment was imported via the university and was invoiced via a ROECYT certificate (the same as with the aforementioned PV panels), which allowed for a tax break.
EPSE procured two electric energy measurement devices for use with the project; They are ACE6000 brand – 5(100)A, bidirectional (4 quadrants) active energy, active and apparent, multifunction and multi-tariff, all of which allows for obtaining (amongst other variables) consumption and generation data from the PV system; this data is important for complementing the phase where the equipment efficiency and functioning is monitored, along with its interaction with the grid and the utility (DECSA).
Still awaiting completion is the final steps of installation and start to the remaining measurement period, construction of the transmission line on the part of DECSA, design of the switchboard that contains the inverter, security and measurement elements, as well as proper connection.