Rubicon plays a crucial role in equipment supply and logistics services for Scatec’s Release containerised solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage systems. These systems are developed to serve industries which need reliable off- and on-grid renewable power. In 2020, Norwegian Independent Power Producer Scatec commissioned a pilot solar plant at Stellenbosch University’s Renewable Energy Centre. Following the success of this pilot, Rubicon was selected to continue to assist Scatec with equipment supply and logistics services related to the roll out of their product, called Release.
The client’s requirements
Release is a fully scalable, modular, readily deployable solar power and battery storage solution. It is designed to provide medium to large scale industries and organisations – like mines, industrials, power utilities and NGOs - with reliable, clean and cost-efficient on- and off-grid renewable power.
The pre-assembled plug and play solution can be quickly installed and securely integrated with existing power infrastructure to create a hybrid power plant or mini/micro grid solution. This novel containerised system will be provided to customers through a flexible leasing agreement.
Scatec needed a company to take care of the local balance of PV system equipment - logistics and equipment documentation needed for the pilot project and chose Rubicon as its partner.
Photo: Release by Scatec.
Full-sized equipment, but on a smaller scale was tested at the pilot site. The solar panels are mounted on a re-deployable tracker system to easily remove them from the containers in which they are stored and transported. The three solar tracker tables that were tested, generate 45kWp of DC power which is fed into a nearby farming operation. The solar power plant includes a communication and control system which can be monitored and controlled from Scatec’s 24 hour control and monitoring centre in Cape Town. Most of the balance of system equipment performed well during the pilot and Rubicon only had to make a few adjustments to this equipment that will be used for future projects.
Rubicon sourced and managed the stock for the balance of PV system and plant equipment on behalf of Scatec Release. It packed all the necessary components into containers and delivered the equipment to site. It created manuals to make handling and installing the equipment easier. Rubicon had access to Scatec’s file-sharing portal where they uploaded these documents.
Rubicon also project managed the manufacturing and assembly of the various balance of system equipment. Based on the team’s vast experience in electrical infrastructure, it made suggestions on equipment and then appointed approved panel builders to carry out the work.
In some cases, it recommended swapping out equipment that was in the original specifications to stock supplied by Rubicon to benefit the client. This firstly means equipment can be shipped to site immediately if parts are needed and it prevents delays with outsourced products that are not always readily available.
Secondly, Rubicon’s team is experienced in the products it stocks and can easily assist with troubleshooting. Rubicon’s Utility Services head Johan van der Westhuyzen said: “We try to mitigate the client’s risk in getting the equipment to site but also by guaranteeing that we can provide back-up and support.”
Some of the equipment Rubicon is supplying for Release includes:
Circuit breakers: Rubicon used Schneider’s ComPact NS and Compact NSX circuit breakers for the AC combiners.
Communication equipment: Rubicon decided to use intelligent data loggers, data communication boxes and switches from Moxa. Rubicon stocks Moxa products and has received high levels of service and support from them.
Enclosures for communication equipment: Rittal’s CS Toptec Project Solution was the perfect enclosure to use for the communication equipment on site. The stainless-steel frame and unique aluminium side and roof panels make it ideal for outdoor use where the equipment is subject to rain, dust and corrosion.
Mini substations: South African manufacturer Power Transformers is producing the mini substations for Release. Being based in Cape Town, where Scatec’s control centre is and close to the Stellenbosch test site means they are on hand if changes need to be made
Power supply units: Rubicon employed UPS’s from Murrelelektronik.
Based on the success of the pilot, Rubicon has been selected to source and pack the equipment for the project roll out. The scope of the project will be different for each customer depending on whether they need 5MW to 20MW of generating capacity. Customers who already have a transformer will not need a mini substation. Because of this, Rubicon ensures that the equipment it chose is easy to adapt to larger or smaller projects. Rubicon will ensure that the containers are packed to reflect each customer’s requirements. Meanwhile, the Stellenbosch pilot site will continue to operate as a testing, training and demonstration site.
Scatec was impressed by Rubicon’s service and the products supplied. Release Project Manager for the Stellenbosch Pilot Project commented: “We chose Rubicon as a partner for this project based on the good track record it has with the Scatec group. Rubicon has a highly professional, skilled and helpful team to work with. The implementation of the project went well, and the plant has been up and running ever since. We will continue to work with Rubicon.”
Rubicon is proud to be involved in a number of groundbreaking global projects for Scatec’s Release ranging from 200kW to 100MW.