Off-grid system with solar tracker in Spain pays off – return of invest within 4-5 years

3/2/17, 2:00 PM -

By installing an PV plus storage island system with a single-axis Deger tracker a Spanish sheep farmer makes a good deal. He saves expensive grid-connection fees and high electricity rates and reduces diesel generator costs.

Solar costs and financing in Spain: Offgrid-PV system with a solar tracker saves costs.
A single-axis Deger Tracker S60H with a capacity of 6.5 kW optimizes self-suffiency of a sheep farm in Madrilejos, Toledo province.

Spain sees a growing number of microgrid PV installations. With an off-grid solution by installing a Deger tracker S60H in the Spanish province of Toledo, a farm is independent of the local municipality’s power grid. One single-axis Deger Tracker S60H with concrete foundation was installed with a capacity of 6.5 kW at Alcobendas family in Madrilejos. With the installation of an additional battery management system, the farm, which specializes in the breeding of sheep, has a total average capacity of 19.2 kWh a day. The installation provides energy for lighting, cooling and hot water supply as well as for the operation of the milking machines. And in addition, a submersible pump for the irrigation of the farm also runs with solar energy.

Return of invest expected within 4-5 years

“Costs of the tracker were 3,500 Euro plus 750 Euro installation plus VAT”, Xavier Tomas Espuny from Deger reports. Costs of the PV system plus storage were 21,000 Euro net. “Installation costs were similar to those in other European countries”, Neuwert adds. Installed are 160 REC Twin Peak solar modules, three inverter charger Victron Multiplus with 5 kW each, one Fronius Simo inverter with 7 kW and 48 battery elements with 2 Volts, OPZ, 800 AH C100. Return of invest is expected within 4-5 years. Electricity rates in the region are 14-15 kWh net in the region. Through the off-grid system expensive permissions for grid-connection could be avoided. Alcobendas family farm is around 1,000 meters away from the next grid-connection point.

Tracker optimizes self-consumption

“The tracker covers the consumption curve of the farm optimally, because the demand for electrical energy is at its highest in the morning and evening hours when the animals are being fed”, Espuny says. The intelligent Maximum Light Detection (MLD) technology moves the solar modules to the brightest point of the sky in the early morning hours, generating enough energy even at dawn, for the operation of the milking machines. All Deger trackers are assembled complete with the patented MLD sensor, and generate approximately 30 percent more power compared to fixed tilt systems. A further special feature of this system is that the tracker and all other components are easily moved to another location any time.

Diesel generator as backup

At midday, when the irradiation values are at its highest, the farm's direct electricity demand decreases, and the unused energy is temporarily stored in a battery bank. Especially in cloudy conditions, the battery supplies additional electricity to maintain the operation and supply the farm with power, even after sunset. Should the battery storage fail to provide sufficient energy, a diesel generator is ready as an emergency backup.

80 percent self-sufficiency throughout the year

It is expected that the diesel generator doesn`t have to run at all from March to October and only two hours per day from November to February, Espuny says. Thus 100 percent of the electricity demand of the farm can be probably supplied with solar and storage from March to October and 80 percent average throughout the whole year.  The system in Madrilejos started operation in July 2016. “This project is an excellent example of the high potential and possibilities of solar energy in agriculture”, Espuny underlines.

In total Deger sold around 17,000 tracker systems in Spain according to Espuny. Despite current administrative obstacles for PV, he is quite optimistic that the situation will improve for solar energy in Spain in the new legislature. In 2005 the German based company opened its branch Deger Iberica in Barcelona. (HCN)

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