By Eurasia Network – October 29, 2020

Solar power station – Photo credit : Pexels

Hevel Group has commissioned the solar power plants “Kapshagai” with a capacity of 3 MW and “Sarybulak” with a capacity of 4.95 MW. Both solar farms are located in the Almaty region, in Kazakhstan.

These new solar farms are equipped with Russian solar modules and solar tracking systems. Tracking installations track the position of the sun and automatically, using artificial intelligence technologies, provide the most efficient orientation of solar modules, which have been manufactured by Hevel Group. Thus, the generation of electricity is increased by an average of 20-25% in comparison with a static installation of the photovoltaic system. The service life of the trackers is comparable to the service life of solar modules and is at least 25 years.

The projected annual output of these solar farms will amount to 14.1 million kWh, which will allow avoiding 7.5 thousand tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. All electricity will be supplied to the Unified Electric Power System of Kazakhstan.

Commissioning of the solar stations “Kapshagai” and “Sarybulak” is the next stage in the implementation of the program of Hevel Group for the construction of solar generation facilities in Kazakhstan. 

In May 2020, one of the largest solar power plants in the CIS countries was inaugurated in the Akmola region, in Central Kazakhstan. The solar power station “Nura” with a capacity of 100 MW was built in six months by Hevel Group with the support of the Eurasian Development Bank. The expected annual output of the PV farm Nura will be 150 million kWh, which will reduce CO2 emissions by 79,500 tons. The power plant covers an area of 300 hectares and is made of 268,334 solar modules.

The total volume of Hevel Group’s projects in Kazakhstan is 248 MW, including solar farms “Kushata” (10 MW), “Shoktas” (50 MW), “Zhanakorgan” (10 MW), purchased in 2019 and 2020, the solar famr “Nura” (100 MW) and the solar power stations in Kentau and Shymkent with a total capacity of 70 MW, whose the rights to build were received in 2018 following the results of a tender held by the Kazakh authorities.

Kazakhstan is carrying out reforms and set the target of 30% of renewable energy share in the national mix by 2030.

A major industrial player

The solar cells used in these projects have been produced by the Novocheboksarsk manufacture plant of Hevel Group. The factory delivered in October 2020 its two millionth heterostructure solar module.

This Russian company registered in 2009 offers solar systems for households and businesses, a wide range of solutions for solar power plants, design, integration and supply of solar modules and auxiliary equipment and is engaged in the construction, installation and commissioning of solar power units. The portfolio now amounts to 719.5 MW of installed solar power capacities while the Hevel Group’s annual volume of operations is more than 340 MW, using solar moduleswith cell efficiency up to 23.5%.

The first solar module by Hevel Group was released in July 2017, when the company achieved the first stage of modernization of the technological line and began to manufacture products using a fundamentally new technology – heterostructure.

Solar modules produced using heterostructure transition technology combine the advantages of traditional silicon technologies (thin-film and crystalline). They can work effectively in cloudy weather and in extreme temperatures (from – 40 ° C to + 85 ° C) and they have a high efficiency of converting sunlight into electricity.

Silicon-based heterojunction solar cells allows for solar cells with record-efficiency energy conversion up to 26.6% (Yoshikawa et al., Nature Energy 2, 2017). These solar cells extract more energy from sun.

This high efficiency allows to reduce costs not only for the production of the products themselves, but also for the construction of solar power plants as a result of reducing the volume of building materials, auxiliary equipment and land area.

Read also : Russia decided to inject EUR 5.65 billion in renewable energy

Over the last three years the average daily production of solar modules by Hevel Group has doubled. If in 2017 the company produced 1,250 pieces daily, now its manufacture plant based in Novocheboksarsk, in the Chuvash Republic, has an output of 2,600 one-sided and double-sided solar modules per day. For nine months of 2020, the plant produced 620 thousand high-efficiency solar modules for a total capacity of 210 MW. This is 34% more than in the same period last year.

The production capacity of Hevel Group was increased by installing additional equipment, increasing the throughput of the production line and optimizing technological processes. The expansion and modernization of production was carried out with the support of the Russian Industrial Development Fund and the Russian Monocities Development Fund. The total investment in the modernization of production amounted to about 7 billion rubles (around 75.3 million euros), including preferential loans in the amount of 1.15 billion rubles (around 12.3 million euros) from the Russian Industrial Development Fund and 1 billion rubles (around 10.7 million euros) from the Russian Monocities Development Fund.

The solar modules produced by Hevel Group are used in the construction of large solar power plants in various regions of Russia and abroad. Part of the production is directed to the implementation of energy projects for industrial infrastructure and private households.

Drones to monitor stations

Projects of the Russian company are driven by innovation. Engineers and technicians of Hevel Group use drones to monitor the efficiency of solar power stations and fix problems when detected. Workers identify thermal anomalies on the surface of the modules, indicating possible malfunctions or damage to the equipment. Then they can go to the site to solve the problem: remove interfering grass, waste products of birds, replace modules with mechanical damage, conduct instrumental diagnostics of equipment. The aerial thermal imaging from drones also helps to detect pockets of damage caused by a lightning strike and reduce the time for visual inspection of damaged areas. Previously, the diagnostics were carried out by the workers of the power plant, but now they are involved only in case of problems. Therefore, the use of drones allows to reduce by 15 the time for checking equipment which is a real productivity gain.

In addition, the drone allows monitoring of the equipment of 110 kV substation nodes (open switchgears), power transformers, lightning rods, lighting towers and overhead lines, which are dangerous or difficult to access equipment for technicians. Using drones improves the security of workers.

Aiming at improving productivity, Hevel Group plans to expand the use of drones in Russia to other solar energy facilities, as well as the use artificial intelligence and machine vision technologies for automated processing of results.

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