In many regions of the world, power grids are either inadequate or nonexistent. As a result, industrial consumers often ensure their power supply through diesel gensets. Five hundred gigawatts of power from diesel genset provides industrial companies with electricity worldwide.

However, fuel costs for the gensets continue to rise. In addition, if the fuel has to be transported to remote regions, the effective costs increase even more as a result of the necessary storage. At the same time, PV system costs have dropped by more than 50 percent within the last three years: Solar power is often the most economical alternative energy source for remote regions in the world’s sunbelt. It simply makes sense to combine PV and diesel systems so that solar irradiation – which is both abundant and free – can profitably be used as an energy source in industrial applications.

What is a photovoltaic diesel hybrid system?
A “hybrid” is something that is formed by combining two kinds of components that produce the same or similar results. A photovoltaic diesel hybrid system ordinarily consists of a PV system, diesel gensets and intelligent management to ensure that the amount of solar energy fed into the system exactly matches the demand at that time.

How does a photovoltaic diesel hybrid system work?
Basically, the PV system complements the diesel gensets. It can supply additional energy when loads are high or relieve the genset to minimize its fuel consumption. In the future, excess energy could optionally be stored in batteries, making it possible for the hybrid system to use more solar power even at night. Intelligent management of various system components ensures optimal fuel economy and minimizes CO2 emissions.

What are the advantages of a photovoltaic diesel hybrid system?
In contrast to power supply systems using diesel gensets, and despite their higher initial cost, PV systems can be amortized in as little as four to five years, depending on the site and system size, and they have low operating costs.

In addition, PV systems are flexible and can be expanded on a modular basis as the energy demand grows. Compared to pure gensets systems, a photovoltaic diesel hybrid system provides numerous advantages:

Lower fuel costs
Reduced risk of fuel price increases and supply shortages thanks to optimized planning Minimal CO2 emissions (protects the environment and facilitates CO2 certificate trading) SMA’s solution for photovoltaic diesel hybrid system technology is the SMA Fuel Save Solution. The information provided below explains how it works and you can learn other interesting facts.

What are the components of this photovoltaic diesel hybrid system Components of a PV Diesel Hybrid System

1. PV inverters
A centralized PV system contains only one string into a central point where direct current is converted to alternating current. In a decentralized PV system, the PV power is divided into many strings, which are converted into alternating current by several inverters.

2. PV array
The solar power is generated in the PV modules, which can be mounted on the ground or on a roof, depending on local conditions. inverters are compatible with all PV module types and technologies currently available on the market.

3. Fuel Save Controller
The Fuel Save Controller provides the perfect interface between the gensets, PV systems, and loads, managing demand-based PV feed-in into the diesel-powered grid.

As the central component of the Fuel Save Solution, it ensures maximum security with reduced fuel costs and minimizes CO2 emissions. The Fuel Save Solution can achieve 60 percent of PV capacity compared to installed genset capacity. This means 600 kW of PV power can be generated from one megawatt of the installed genset power. The Fuel Save Controller consists of three modules:

4. Diesel genset
In grid-remote regions, pure diesel systems often provide energy for industrial applications. They constitute the local grid, ensuring constant power supply to all connected users. Because the gensets require a constant fuel supply, they are often the system’s highest operating cost. In regions with weak utility grids, diesel gensets often serve as a backup during grid power outages.

5. Genset system house
This includes the monitoring and control systems for the diesel gensets. The genset system house is the central terminal and point of common coupling.

6. Optional storage batteries
To boost the efficiency of the entire energy supply system, it is advisable to include a storage battery.

When solar irradiation is insufficient or energy is needed after dark, the storage battery supplies the required energy, ensuring optimal hybrid system operation. Inverter is working on a battery inverter specifically designed for such industrial applications.

When and where does a photovoltaic diesel hybrid system make sense?
For industrial large-scale loads in remote regions, complementing diesel gensets with photovoltaics is the ideal solution under the following conditions:
When the effective cost of diesel exceeds one US dollar per liter.

When intelligent communication between the genset and PV systems facilitates demand-oriented use of PV power.

When local solar irradiation conditions allow the use of PV (especially economically viable with PV yields above 1,500 kWh/kWp)

Photovoltaic diesel hybrid systems can be amortized especially quickly in sunny regions, with little or no grid access. This solution maximizes the use of solar energy in combination with diesel aggregates. For industries such as mining; raw material processing; agricultural companies such as flower farms and water desalinization systems and tourism facilities with a high energy demand low power generation costs, quick operational readiness, maximum reliability, and availability are fundamental. The environmental benefits are also convincing: CO2 emissions and noise pollution are significantly reduced, minimizing the environmental impact. Environmentally friendly and cost-effective? Yes, we can do that.