Dealer uses machinery giant’s solar tech and equipment for its first solar project installation in UAE
Caterpillar Middle East and its regional dealer Al-Bahar have jointly completed their first Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Project, which includes design, installation and commissioning of a Grid Tied Solar PV plant, for their regional facility.
According to a statement by Al-Bahar, the move is expected to provide the Caterpillar Distribution Services facility with 237MwH of energy yield annually for the next 25 years, assuring it a sustainable and cost-effective solution for the facility’s power needs.
The project is inspired by the Shams Dubai initiative by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), the first smart initiative of its kind in the emirate for solar energy and part of the authority’s Distributed Renewable Resources Generation programme, which intends to enable the facility to reduce dependency on grid power, said Al-Bahar.
The company added that the project aimed to set up a PV plant that could be used for regional Microgrid training activities while meeting objectives such as the reduction of carbon footprint. The project also supports Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 – according to which the emirate aims to meet 75% of its needs through solar energy by 2050, said Al-Bahar.
The 138 Kwp plant will cover 1700sqm, which can accommodate 1200 Caterpillar 115Wp Thin Film Solar PV Modules. Cat’s Photovoltaic Module PVT 115 with an efficiency of around 16%, has been utilised for the project, which is the first solar ground installation in Dubai’s JAFZA area, especially for a training centre in the region. In addition to ground installations, the project also includes panels on a 6m high canopy that offers shade for generators. Four 25kw inverters and one 20kw inverter, offering a total of 120KW AC, are also part of the system.
According to Al-Bahar, the thin film technology has an advantage over other technologies like multi crystalline, as the Cat PVT115 modules generate more energy than competing ones with same power rating. Due to ‘Superior Temperature Co-efficient’ and better Spectral Response, the Cat thin film modules produce 7% more power compared to conventional silicon modules in hot and humid climatic conditions. The photovoltaic panels lower the cost of energy and reduce utility bills for grid-connected installations as well.
Al-Bahar added that future expansions of the system will include two modes of operations, namely Grid Connected and Microgrid Modes, where the system can perform in tandem with gensets to reduce the genset fuel consumption.
The system also connects to the state-owned electricity grid and its daily energy production will either be consumed by the Caterpillar facility or will be fed to the utility grid through a bidirectional meter. This means that in times of high power consumption, the Cat facility can seamlessly source its additional requirement from the grid, while at lower consumption the solar-generated power will be used to supplement the city grid – allowing for deductions on overall government utility bills for the facility.
Al-Bahar said it has run several simulations which indicate the current set-up and technology is well-suited to the region’s weather conditions. For hassle-free operations the project uses the Cat MMC-M – Remote internet-based monitoring system, which enables the entire complete set-up to be monitored remotely using Cat Connect Technology to provide real-time status of the performance and health of the installation.
With frequent cleaning being a prime requirement for photovoltaic installations, the frameless Cat modules also use the company’s Manual Dry Brush Trolley, which provides dry cleaning of the panels in a region with limited water availability yet with high dust and sand levels.
Al-Bahar added that it is in the process of developing new more projects and technologies together with Cat for further growth in its solar power offerings.