Originating from Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province, China, the Yalong River flows for thousands of miles, where it eventually merges with the Jinsha River in Panzhihua, Sichuan Province. On a snowy mountain at an altitude of 4600 meters in western Sichuan, rows of blue PV panels are generating electricity from solar energy, while the Yalong River is roaring in the distance. This land is brought to life by clean power where solar and hydro meet.
Hydro-Solar Hybrid Enhances Energy Sources
What appears to be a “PV sea” is actually the Kela PV Plant Phase 1, the world’s largest, highest-altitude, and first GW hydro-solar hybrid power plant, with a total installed capacity of 1 GW and covering an area of 16 km2.
50 kilometers away from the Kela PV Plant, the 295 m high Lianghekou Dam stands on the Yalong River, serving for hydropower generation and flood control. This hydropower plant has an installed capacity of 3 million kW and a total water storage capacity of 10.8 billion m3, making critical contributions to renewable energy development in the basin. The Kela PV Plant is connected to the Lianghekou Hydropower Plant through the 500 kV power transmission lines, realizing hydro-solar hybrid transmission.
Digital and Intelligent Technologies Build a Benchmark Project
The Kela PV Plant is located in a cold and high-altitude area with great temperature fluctuations between day and night. According to the staff involved in the construction, the extreme temperature in winter can reach –30.6°C, and winds with gale force 8 or 9 often occur, making it difficult to walk. If the traditional PV plant O&M model is used, it is difficult for employees to handle the O&M of such large scale of plant. Therefore, the Kela PV Plant has chosen the digital and intelligent solution provided by Huawei FusionSolar and established an integrated O&M platform, building a benchmark for high-altitude hydro-solar hybrid smart PV plants.
More than 5300 Huawei smart string inverters serve as the “heart” of the PV plant with a high protection rating of IP66, ensuring stable and reliable operations in extreme cold environments on plateaus. FusionSolar’s unique patented Smart String-level Disconnection (SSLD) technology can intelligently identify DC side faults and implement automatic disconnection to avoid fire risks and ensure plant safety. The Smart I-V Curve Diagnosis can perform remote, online, and full-scanning health inspection to quickly locate faults. The smart CV diagnosis system checks more than 2 million PV modules onsite, identifies problems such as shading, hot spots, and microcracks. The Smart Co-Diagnosis System provides diagnosis reports for the plant, making O&M intelligent and accurate.