13-07-2012 | News
In Chile, Sinec has achieved growth and consolidated its position as a trustworthy supplier by carrying out electrical projects in large companies such as Chilectra. One of its most recent success stories was the implementation of a monitoring system for a solar panel domestic hot water system, using technology including the eWON industrial router supplied by Fabelec to view and control the system. We talked to Sinec managers about this project.More and more renewable energy projects, particularly solar energy projects, are being carried out in Chile and in order to consolidate and improve on them, the energy supplied by such projects needs to be measured very accurately. This was exactly what Chilectra required for a solar panel domestic hot water system installed in a building in central Santiago.
Sinec was commissioned to carry out the project and installed a custom-built monitoring system to calculate the energy generated by the solar panels and heat pumps. This system currently allows Chilectra to control the energy delivered to heat the domestic hot water and adjust the billing charge to users correspondingly.
Monitoring under control
Variables such as the temperature, water flow and pressure are essential in order to ensure that sufficient hot water is supplied to meet the needs of a residential building and Sinec has got these under total control by installing an eWON. As Sinec General Manager, Roberto Gonzalez, explains, “we needed to control the system's efficiency, so as to eliminate potential breakdowns and out-of-range measurements and this system has turned out to be an excellent option”.
There was perfect teamwork between Sinec and Fabelec, who established monitoring points, centralised the data via a PLC and set up communication functions using the eWON. Robert Bauerschmitt, Fabelec's engineer, explained that this innovative equipment comes from Belgium and is continuously improving communication with various web-based systems. One of its major advantages is that, in addition to providing the capability to monitor tens of variables at the same time, system monitoring can also be carried out remotely. “The web-based Talk2M platform provides remote access from anywhere and has a very high level of availability. All of this is possible since eWON has a mobile broadband internet VPN connection via its incorporated modem”.
When eWON commenced operation, Sinec replaced the datalogger it had been using originally and the changeover means that over twenty variables within this domestic hot water system can now be controlled. Claudio Salinas, Sinec's Works Co-ordinator adds that, from the time when eWON became operational, “we have a large amount of data allowing us to accurately analyse the operation of the solar panels and the heat pumps”.
Using a PLC connected to eWON, all the data for the variables that need to be controlled is collected by the equipment, is processed and sent to a spreadsheet on the Chilectra servers. Using a screen display it is possible to identify each solar panel on the building, the tanks, their temperature recording devices and the water flow.
Innovation and minute by minute measurements
The screen shows all the variables, dynamically, providing a great degree of control and allowing the behaviour of all the measurements to be monitored online minute by minute. “This means that we can provide a good quality of service to the building residents and set up alarms to ensure that none of the variables goes out of range and also allows billing calculations to be made without errors”, confirms Braulio Rocha, Sinec Operations Manager. The decision to implement eWON in this project came about because of Fabelec's experience as a specialist supplier of monitoring and control systems and also the supplier's commitment to provide after-sales support in connection with operation of the eWON. On this point, Braulio Rocha is emphatic and remarks that on several occasions the equipment needed to be configured and at all times he was able to rely on expert advice from the Fabelec engineers.
After almost two years in operation and a successful experience in implementing the technology to control pump and solar panel variables in a domestic hot water system, it is extremely likely that this project will be replicated. This technology provides the capability to ensure that installation of a renewable energy system in a residential building can be controlled and accurately measured so as to provide operating costs, savings achieved and the demand that needs to be satisfied to meet the requirements of the users.
In the opinion of Roberto Gonzalez, this system makes it possible to forecast the success of a project and its profitability over time. “It's a pioneering initiative, allowing benefits and savings to be calculated in a way that has not been done before”.
Picture on the right: Robert Bauerschmitt, Fabelec Engineer; with Sinec managers, Braulio Rocha, Operations Manager; Claudio Salinas, Works Co-ordinator, and Roberto Gonzalez, General Manager.
Article published in Electroindustria, June 2012 issue, www.emb.cl