PV Plant Control, Connection and ProtectionOptimize the performance and grid connection of your PV plants with our state-of-the-art PV package
How Do SCADAs for PV Plants Work?
In order to monitor the photovoltaic (PV) plant and control its intelligent devices in real time from a central monitoring station, the PV plant and its grid connection (LV/MV substation) must be tied to a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. The SCADA allows to visualize collected data, providing plant operators with a Human Machine Interface (HMI) to supervise and control the plant and its smart devices, as well as measure performance and other KPIs.
The commands from the operator are executed on-site from a single access point via remote control units (most commonly RTUs/gateways, sometimes PLCs), which form the bridge between SCADA and PV plant by acting as a master to meters, protection relays and other devices at the power plant. These master units can control a large number of slave devices, collect and process their data and then route this information to the control center.
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Why Use a PV Plant SCADA?
- Make your investment safer – from planning phase until end of operation
- Total & real-time control of your PV plant (all devices!) to minimize times of underperformance and maximize availability and generation output
- Automized management, SCADA-based networks can react to misoperating devices without requiring human intervention*
- Predict your revenues & control your plant’s performance on all operation levels with iControls weather forecast integration*
- Easily adapt your communication network to future topology changes and retrofits
- Powerful analyses & reporting by storing all data in one place (of your choice*)
- PV plants are a long-term investment – stay vendor-independent
- Set customizable alarms/reports for fault regulation, underperformance and other events
- Even more safety with redundant network architectures*
* functionalities available with iGrid T&D, but not necessarily with other providers
iGrid T&D Advantages
- Highly flexible, modular and scalable solution, adaptable to any system requirements/ network topology
- Smooth approval process thanks to extensive compliance and certifications for the industry
- Simple & user-friendly configuration, operation and commissioning
- Unlimited real-time data storage & analysis for KPI calculations, alarms and reports
- Role-based-access-control (RBAC) and IEC 62531 cyber security measures for 100% safety
- Define automatic set-points for dispatch orders and other automation sequences based on mathematical/logical expressions in a simple and user-friendly way to react to faults/events and diverting KPIs
- Full interoperability in any PV plant – collect data through any protocol (incl. IEC 61850) and map it to IEC60870‑5–104 or DNP3
- Economic efficiency & planning safety from relying on a full monitoring, control and protection system from Thytronic Group
PV Monitoring and Control
PV plant management systems by iGrid T&D are a comprehensive, vendor-independent and customizable approach to recording, processing, analyzing and monitoring all data in real-time and gaining total control over your solar plant.
Our iControl SCADA for photovoltaic energy monitoring and control comes with all recommended features for advanced and user-friendly plant supervision and allows to control any device (incl. trackers, inverters, IEDs and meters) or operation from one single platform.
Thanks to the integration of local weather data, the system can continuously compare expected and actual generation performance. If performance data falls under user-defined thresholds or any network device behaves abnormally, the system triggers automatic alarms accompanied by customizable reports, which can be sent via e‑mail or SMS. This allows to directly inform engineering staff, who can immediately fix the problem on site and review related events by accessing the pv plant monitoring software via web browser. Performance measurements on all operating levels allow engineers to target areas of poor performance for fine-tuning or reconfiguration tasks, allowing precise maintenance beyond the mere replacement of faulty equipment.
Immediate interventions following faults and underperformance alarms are critical in order to maximize the plant’s generation output and availability. In addition to operators and engineering staff, the power plant controller (PPC) itself can also react to irregularities independently by executing automation sequences. These can easily be programmed with the integrated PLC automation functionalities (IEC 61131–3) of the iConf tool.
No hidden losses with versatile & advanced power plant controllers
Just like our software, our versatile, high-performance hardware (iRTU/iGWs) can apply the entire iGrid T&D protocol suite and can thus be a master to any device connected to the PV plant or the grid-interfacing substation. Using iGrid T&D hardware as PV plant controller and/or substation RTU is in turn the easiest way to maintain full vendor-independence.
Our cost-saving and secured hardware combines three different roles inside of one device:
- PV plant controller (PPC), controlling, collecting and processing data from all PV plant devices, such as inverters, trackers, string boxes, environmental sensors and meters.
- Smart meter gateway, mapping metering signals in DLMS, Modbus or IEC60870‑5–102 onto upstream protocols such as DNP3 to pass the metering data on to control centers/ master stations.
- Bay controller unit, controlling, collecting and processing data from all devices that are part of the grid connection/ substation and protection system.
However, communication protocols are not the only factor to consider when one is going for maximum flexbility and independence. Our products can be ordered with a range of communication ports and I/Os to serve different communication media. For example, an iRTU can carry an embedded Ethernet switch to connect to several redundant Ethernet networks, several serial ports for serial IEDs or meters, and a GPRS modem for wireless communication with the control center.
Having everything combined in one future-oriented device saves a lot of time and money, whilst remote plant locations, complex networks and eventual changes/replacements stop being a costly threat to your investment. Further prevention against financial losses can be provided by redundant infrastructure. iRTUs/iGWs can be operated in hot-standby redundancy modes and support RSTP/PRP/HSR to protect your network from all device failures.
Furthermore, our plant controllers are capable of high precision time-synchronzation (<1ms) via PTP or NTP and carry internal Real-Time Clocks (RTC, 1ppm). This allows to keep on recording events with a micro-second time stamping accuracy, even when connection to the time source (masterclock) is lost, permitting to trace failures back meticulously.
Different Devices for Different Demands
We have developed a broad variety of devices and device families with many configuration options to cost-effective solutions for any project requirements.
We can also announce the upcoming launch of the iRTUcompact, a new compact device with integrated I/Os for generation and smart metering applications.
iGW – Powerful Software in Its Favorite Case
The iGW is a powerful and secure protocol gateway, providing advanced redundancy functions and carrying 2 Ethernet and 4 serial ports and an (optional) embedded Ethernet switch for 2 additional Ethernet ports (total of 4).
iGWlite – The “Lite” Gateway
The iGWlite carries the same software core as well as 1 Ethernet, 1 RS485/RS422 and an optional RS-232 port (copper or fiber) or a 2G/3G/4G modem – taking little space on a DIN-Rail, but still employing the full iGrid protocol stack.
iRTU – The Gateway with Integrated I/Os
The iRTU is an reliable and scalable controller with internal and configurable I/O capabilities for direct data acquisition, the iGrid protocol stack, multiple Ethernet and serial ports, high-precision time synch, and an optional embedded Ethernet switch.
PV plant monitoring solution deployed in hundreds of PV plants across Turkey
Monitor and control, comfortably from anywhere with iControl
Once the data has been collected and pre-processed by the controller/RTU/Gateway, the iControl SCADA sytem steps in to visiualize, store, process and analyze the data, which can range from HV/MV parameters in the point of connection to string level measurements in PV arrays.
Our SCADA can be operated as a stand-alone system or in complex network topologies, including redundant networks or client-server architectures with multiple control stations accessing one master SCADA. All the information collected and generated by iControl can be transferred to third parties via OPC or directly stored in an SQL database for system analyses, predictions and reporting.
The SCADA can also generate customizable reports by istelf, which can be sent automatically (e.g. via e‑mail and SMS) to maintenance teams, plant owners or engineering departments. In this way, one system automatically feeds all parties the information they need to know, from maintenance technicians to investors. These reports can include completely customizable KPIs, such as plant availability or performance ratio (PR), based on all kinds of collected data using freely definable mathematical expressions.
The information can also be accessed in real-time via web browser with the iControl web viewer. The web-viewer is specifically designed for monitoring the plant without acting on it. It can display all listings, charts and schemas and follows all required safety measures against potential threats. So you can view your system’s performance from anywhere in the world.
Multiple user roles can be defined for iControl and the web viewer in order to ensure that only selected users are permitted to execute certain commands and access certain information. In this way, it is also possible to simplify the navigation through the SCADA by only displaying information and functionalities the respective user needs. As such, different KPIs can be shown to different users and an owner/investor can view all of his plants at once, while the operator is limited to viewing plants deployed in the operator’s zone.
Our iEventsviewer is a user-friendly tool to view all events that have been recorded at your solar power plant. It allows to filter and sort events, for instance by device, time or power plant.
iControl also comes with many advanced features and carries all essential functionalities for its application in substations, e.g. busbar coloring, PLC automation and smart zooming. Check them out here to see how we can not only automate your plant, but also your grid integration.
iControl SCADA — from GW to CC
- For all levels, from pant/ substation Gateway and SCADA HMI to Control Center
- Can communicate with all meters and devices
- Provides all required functionalities, such as automated reporting, web interface, KPIs, alarm management…
How Modern SCADAs Are Bringing New Opportunities to the PV Sector
Traditionally, comprehensible data visualization required seperate monitoring software which would display user-friendly graphs and reports on intuitive dashboards.
Since a SCADA allows to remotely control the plant and already stores operational data, more and more SCADAs are integrating advanced analytics into their system. This not only reduces complexity and cost, but also enables a whole new range of opportunities by organizing both historical and real-time data in novel ways for superior performance managment. Considering that iperators and owners can compare performances on several levels across an entire fleet of systems, they can compare equipment, technologies, configurations etc. to recognize trends that allow to optimize generation output and revenues.
Powerful communication technology you can trust
We want to keep the operation of your PV plant as simple as possible without renouncing advanced functionalities. For this reason, based on our in-field experience, we designed powerful and flexible hardware for the energy industry. Our user-friendly hardware facilititates smooth implementations and can be easily adjusted to your needs with our free & simple iConf tool.
We are aware of the broad diversity of components a system constructor is confronted with. No matter whether it is a mixed PV power plant with different inverter types or a heterogeneous PV system with inverters from different manufacturers, with our solutions you no longer need to worry about system topology, communication media, compatibility or network inefficiencies.
We encourage to set up open and scalable communication network architectures, which will allow you to comfortably react to any kind of changes in your PV plant’s network and replace third party devices at any given time.
Although our devices are already configurable and versatile by design, we also provide further product configurations and tailored services upon request.
As required by many grid operators, the data from each of the power plants must be concentrated or converted to communicate with the operator’s second level SCADA/HMI/CC. Our gateways and RTUs cannot only function as a concentrate the data of up to 24 meters, but also serve as complete communication front-end for the entire power plant and grid integration to connect to first or second level SCADAs.
All of our products can collect metering data in real-time using any common metering protocol such as IEC60870‑5–102, Modbus and DLMS. Prior to transferring this data, the data can be directly processed by the iGW/iRTU using mathematical or logical expressions, which can be easily defined with the user-friendly and free iConf tool. The connection to the control centers can be established through any available communication network (GPRS, VSAT, analog radio, Ethernet, etc.) and run on protocols such as IEC 60870‑5–101/104, IEC 61850, Modbus or DNP3.0.
We hold longterm relationships with major metering manufacturers such as Landis & Gyr, Itron and Circutor, allowing us to gain experience with their devices all around the world. Our products are designed to collect all kinds of metering data as for example billing information, loss calculations, power quality and generation trends, just to name a few.
Don’t let compliance be in your way
Except for the Network Code on Requirements for Generators (NC, RFG), which standardizes all grid connection requirements accross Europe, technical requirements for connecting photovoltaic power plants to the transmission or distribution grid can vary greatly by country, region or grid operator. This makes it difficult for manufacturers to design their product for world-wide compliance. Having a problem with the approval of certain devices can be very costly due to last-minute changes and significant delays in the project deployment.
Thanks to our experiences with electrical networks and substations in a variety of industries all around the planet, our products have been prepared for an immmense range of high-demanding requirements and standards, guaranteeing a peaceful approval process for any project in any country. Our certifications range from EMC compatibility and communication protocol standards like IEC 61850 to cyber security means and have been asserted by third party certification bodies like DNV GL/ KEMA.
Smart Protection Relays by Thytronic Group
Protection Relays for Feeders, Transformers, Capacitor Banks, Generators, Motors and many more
Multi-function high-end IEDs for protecting, monitoring and controlling power systems
- Accurate measurements
- Modular hardware and software
- High-precision time synchronization
- iGrid substation automation software
Why go for the PV package?
Aside from the advantages that Thytronic Group products offer individually, executing the grid connection, protection and supervision project under one umbrella brings many positive synergies, specially in terms of coordination and interface engineering between products. The companies are in constant communication, continuously working together on several projects, while the devices fluently communicate multiple standard protocols through iGrid’s software core iGComms.
This leads to signficant cost and time savings for the customer, who also benefits from:
- A single contract for the entire package
- Cost-effective provision, supply and project management
- A single point of contact for the entire project
- Quicker startup, comissioning and engineering
- Reduced customer risk
Solution Benefits & Functions
Customizable real-time KPI calculations
Full real-time control over any installed device
Strong certifications from independent certification bodies
Maximum investment security
High cyber security standards
Optimized efficiency and generation output
Local and remote data storage
Customized training & support
Remote maintenance/ testing
Reliable and efficient protection functions
Improved reliability & security
Wireless SCADA communication
Remote substation monitoring and control
Automated generation control (AGC)
Powerful & comfortable data recording including data exports & SQL
Worldwide high and medium voltage compliance
Historical & real-time trends analysis
State-of-the-art technology (incl. IEC 61850)
Role-based access control
Engineering & maintenance cost reduction
Full interoperability and vendor-independence
Automatic data storage
Reduced space for human error
Graphical visualization of measurements & data
Simple device set-up/ deployment
Local & global alarm generation
Lost energy analysis
Automatic alarms & reporting
Solar fleet management
Minimized system down-time
Our MV & HV PV Package
- Secure, remote monitoring and control software (SCADA)
- Substation & PV plant communication infrastructure (SW+HW) (RTUs, Gateways, I/Os)
- Smart meter data collection, processing & transfer
- Protection system with relays by Thytronic
Full Independence for an Open Architecture
All of our products support several types of communication media, such as wireless (GPRS/ 3g, 4g), VSAT, analog radio, Ethernet or Serial, and can communicate with the entire iGrid T&D protocol suite. Thanks to our experiences with devices from almost all known vendors and our pledge for standard protocols, we can ensure the seamless integration of our products with any third party devices.
Sleep Peacefully with Expert Cyber Security
iGrid T&D enforces several layers of security measures guided by the propositions of the IEC 62531 standard to protect its devices from all kinds of threats.
Our hardened devices feature Role Based Access Control (RBAC) to avoid intrinsic risks such as security holes and unauthorized actions by authenticated users.
In addition to end-to-end encryptions via TSL/SSL, HTTPS, SSH and standard procedures for VPNs (e.g. OpenVPN), its communication can also be secured with network control methods such as firewalls, IP filters, ACL or TCP port blocks.
iGrid T&D Protocol Suite
Our protocol suite includes newer protocols such as IEC 61850 MMS or GOOSE (A level certified by DNV-KEMA), but also older standard and proprietary protocols such as ModbusRTU/TCP, Profibus, SpaBus, Mlink or Procome. Other supported downstream protocols for meters and protection relays are IEC 60870–5‑102/-103, IEC 62056–21 and DLMS, whereas upstream protocols for control centers also include IEC 60870–5‑101/-104 or DNP3.0 serial/TCP.
All our devices can execute logical/mathematical functions and automation sequences with super high speeds thanks to their PLC capabilities.
The integrated PLC is highly scalable and has been applied in all kinds of fields to solve a broad variety of challenges.
User-friendly and graphical programming module (editor) for automation sequences and PLCs based on IEC 61131–3.
This project demonstrates some of the possibilities the Thytronic group package can provide. iControl is used to remotely control and supervise over 100 photovoltaic generation plants around Turkey. Each plant is owned by a different investor who can access his power plant’s information anytime via web browser. All data from solar meters and IEDs is collected and concentrated on-site by iRTUs, which pass the data to the iControl SCADA. The communication system could be set up particularly quickly and efficiently thanks to our long-term experience with protection relays by Thytronic.
In this project the iGW was deployed by a major meter manufacturer in over 150 generation plans, concentrating 8 high-end meters through DLMS as well as mapping and sending the data to the control center via the IEC60870‑5–104 and Modbus RTU.
In this project the IGW-VM software application monitors and controls thousands of meters, collecting all their data, including load profiles, through several protocols (e.g. Modbus, IEC60870‑5–102 and DLMS) and delivering it to a metering application using JSON webservices
PV Plant Products
High-performance SCADA for the management and control of one or several PV plants. It can run either in client/server or standalone mode, providing advanced functionalities such as hot-standby redundancy, automatic line coloring, events notification (via e‑mail and sms), SQL logging, advanced data analytics and reports generation.
iRTU – With I/Os for Direct Data Acquisition
Compact and scalable bay controller which can act as IEC 61850 client or server, featuring configurable I/O boards for direct data acquisition, high-precision timestamping and an optional Ethernet switch for additional Ethernet ports.
iGW‑S Substation Gateway
Powerful and reliable substation gateway, able to run either in standalone or redundant modes, with an embedded Ethernet switch (4 ports) and IEC 61850 client and server capabilities.
iRTUe – Remote I/O Extensions
iGWs, iRTUs and third party master units can be freely extended by connecting one or several iRTUe.
They are IEC 61850 (GOOSE) compliant and come in many configurations such as 48 DI, 16 relays, 16 AI, 24 DI + 8 relays, 24 DI + 8 AI or 8 relays + 8 AI.
Basic information about our data protection:
Institution in charge: IGRID SL. Purposes of data processing: Customer contact. Archived data location: Raiola Networks SL (UE). Personal data retain period: Until removal request. Rights: You can exercise your rights of access, rectification, cancellation and opposition.