The IPP (Independent Power Producer) O2 Energies has started the operation of its Rockwell Solar Farm in North Carolina, USA. For the decentralized plant with a capacity of 4.25 MW more than 16,000 PV modules and 145 inverters were used.
Besides 16,629 Hanwha SolarOne modules the PV plant uses 145 Sunny Tripower TL-US three-phase inverters by SMA and two SMA Cluster Controllers, which can monitor and control up to 75 inverters each. The whole park is decentralized and the inverters include two independent MPP trackers and OptiTrac Global Peak to minimize the effects of shade and maximize electricity production. The operators expect Rockwell Solar Farm to produce about 6,200 MWh of electricity for Rowan County annually.
“Because the site was in rolling terrain, a decentralized system design with multiple power point tracking was the optimal solution,” said Henry Dziuba, President and General Manager of SMA America. He emphasized that the redundancy provided by multiple inverters would preserve system uptime and protect O2 Energies against profit loss.
O2 Energies tries to integrate their PV plants into the local environment as well as possible. For the Rockwell Solar Farm this includes hiring local workers, renting local equipment and financing through a local bank. Additionally, “local” sheep function as natural lawn mowers and get rid of the grass, which grows under and around the solar modules.