In today’s modern era, automation systems are not only becoming increasingly popular, but are also securing permanent positions as go-to solutions in numerous industries. Such is the case for a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. Accordingly, a SCADA system is defined by WatElectrical.com as an industrial process automation network utilized for collecting data from various sensors and instruments situated at off-site locations. The gathered data are then transmitted to the central worksite, often for controlling or monitoring.
Below, we’ll provide a comprehensive discussion of how SCADA systems are being used by power plants, specifically those that deal with solar energy. But, before that, let’s have an overview of how a typical SCADA system works.
The Functions of a SCADA System
SCADA is a sophisticated arrangement of software and hardware elements that enables different industrial companies to accomplish a number of operational tasks. These include controlling processes at remote sites, conducting real-time data collection, monitoring and processing, and interacting directly with a range of devices like valves, motors, and pumps. Moreover, a SCADA system allows events to be tracked by recording them into a log file.
SCADA systems are critical for industrial enterprises, considering that they do a lot for boosting work efficiency, processing data for better decisions, and communicating system issues immediately to provide automated responses and decrease downtime.
Modern Industries That Use SCADA
SCADA systems have extensive industrial applications. In myriads of small-time organizations and large-scale corporations — both public and private, SCADA systems prove to be highly significant in enhancing work quality while lowering time expense and operating costs. Some examples of these industries are food and beverage, manufacturing, recycling, transportation, water and wastewater treatment, power, and energy.
SCADA and Solar Power Plants
Solar power can be simply defined as energy derived from the sun that is being converted into electrical or thermal energy. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, this form of renewable energy source is the most abundant and cleanest. Numerous technologies can employ this energy for multiple uses such as electricity generation and water heating.
Indeed, solar energy is a growing sustainable industry. Every progressing industry needs modern tools to fully attain its potentials. With that, how is a SCADA system being used in solar power plants?
The International Journal of Engineering Development and Research published a study which described how a SCADA system was designed for a solar plant. This was developed for monitoring and controlling a variety of energy parameters.
Generally, a solar SCADA system is used to sustain real-time remote communication. As live details about the plant are needed and a solar plant is immovable, SCADA systems are sought after to fill in the people working in the central site. It checks on devices and weather parameters such as temperature and humidity. All the collected data are being viewed in monitors that are set up at the corporate office. In fact, an elaborate and thorough view of a solar plant can be observed from anywhere, both on computers and mobile devices.
SCADA systems are intensely beneficial networks for commercial, industrial, and residential uses. Moreover, because they take care of various operations and cut down costs, companies can focus on developing solutions for the betterment of society and the environment, such as optimizing solar power plants.