Supervise the construction of a photovoltaic plant one hundred kilometres away

 

Innovative techniques are used in the construction of photovoltaic plants to guarantee the safety of the technicians who work on the construction works and to promote communication and interaction between the teams.

A technician using smart-glasses in the photovoltaic park in the town of Teba, in Malaga.
A technician using smart-glasses in the photovoltaic park in the town of Teba, in Malaga.

Endesa's decarbonisation strategy has hit the accelerator, as announced in the presentation of the 2021-23 Strategic Plan. Over the next three years, Endesa will build, through its renewable energy division Enel Green Power España, new renewable parks that will enable an additional 3,900 MW to be connected to the company's generation mix. Of that power, 3,000 MW will originate from photovoltaic solar sources, a technology that adapts especially well to the climatic conditions of Spain, where there are between 2,500 and 3,000 daylight hours per year.

An average of 150,000 solar panels are installed in the construction of a 50 MW photovoltaic plant and up to 300 people can take part. Safety is key in the work of these teams, in mechanical work and in Covid prevention, a factor that has been an added difficulty since March 2020. Innovative technologies are therefore being applied that help to facilitate work and avoid risks in the different tasks carried out during construction. 

 

Smart-glasses to supervise the works

The use of smart-glasses enables remote assistance from supervisors without the need to physically go to the area. The technology used also includes an infrared camera that takes snapshots of what is being seen, a revolution for detailed monitoring of construction and commissioning activities in times of Covid.

"The use of this technology enables closer contact to be maintained with the work being undertaken in construction works. It provides a real vision of the evolution of the works and the state thereof, increasing the quality of interaction between those who are on the ground day after day, and those who supervise from homes or offices what is being done hundreds of kilometres away," explains Luca Capuozzo, Project Execution Leader of Endesa's renewable energy division, Enel Green Power España.

"The use of smart-glasses increases the quality of interaction between those who are on the ground and those who supervise what is being done hundreds of kilometres away"

– Luca Capuozzo, Project Execution Leader of Endesa's renewable energy division, Enel Green Power España.

 

 

The photovoltaic plants in which virtual reality is used are Las Corchas and Los Naranjos in the Sevillian town of Carmona, La Vega I and La Vega II in the Malaga town of Teba and Augusto in the province of Badajoz. It is planned to extend this initiative to future parks under construction.

 

Innovation in mechanical work and in safety 

In addition to applying virtual reality in photovoltaic plants, other innovative measures have been implemented to facilitate the installation of solar modules and to guarantee safety in all works:

 

  • Exoskeleton 

Photovoltaic panels are installed individually and, in the case of installations with bifacial panels, up to five people can be employed in their installation. To carry out this mechanical work, a pilot programme has been launched for the installation of photovoltaic modules with an exoskeleton. In other words, it is a kind of external skeleton that enables the operator to lift the weight or to carry out the screwing work more easily.

 

  • Ame system 

The Ame system installed on heavy machinery on site enables the detection of people at a pre-established safety distance through an alarm system in the cabin. Thanks to this alert, the system detects anyone who approaches the machinery who poses a safety hazard.

 

  • GPS technology

GPS technology enables greater precision to be achieved in topographic studies of the terrain and in levelling. Autonomous machinery guided with this system is also used for digging trenches.

 

  • Integrated junction

"Integrated junctions" are systems for joining photovoltaic modules to cutting-edge structures. This innovative system enables faster anchoring of the solar modules, thus facilitating their installation.

Solar panel assembly with the use of an exoskeleton
AME system used in the construction of the photovoltaic plant

Sustainable construction and emission reduction

The construction of Endesa's renewable photovoltaic and wind energy projects is based on Enel Green Power's "sustainable construction site" model, which includes, for example, recycling and reuse of material on site, the installation of photovoltaic solar panels, to cover some of the energy needs during the work, and water saving measures through the installation of tanks and rain collection systems. Once construction has finished, the photovoltaic panels and the water saving equipment is donated to the towns for public use.

Thanks to this significant boost in the development of new renewable energy plants, Endesa will be able to meet its emission reduction targets and achieve 11,500 MW of solar, wind and hydro power by the end of 2023, 62% of the entire generating park on the Iberian Peninsula. 

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