Acciona finishes PV-powered irrigation system without batteries


From pv magazine Spain

Spanish renewable energy company Acciona Energía has commissioned what it claims is “the largest photovoltaic plant in the world associated with an irrigation system directly connected to the grid, without backup batteries.”

Acciona has built a 1.58 MW solar plant in Montesusín, near Huesca in northeastern Spain. Equipped with 2,400 solar modules and trackers, the facility covers 35,585 m2. With an average annual production of 3,000 MWh, the plant will directly power irrigation pumps for 150 irrigators across 3,400 hectares.

Acciona Energía announced the project in 2021, when it launched the “Innovation of photovoltaic pumping in irrigation communities” initiative, which aims for the installation of 7.3 MW.

The project incorporated two major innovations. The first is the technology used to stabilize the injection of energy into the system. This technology has been developed and patented under Maslowaten, a European-funded research project that develops smart irrigation solutions powered by solar energy, led by the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM).

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The project calculated the power requirements of PV irrigation systems, addressing intermittent power issues without batteries, and integrating them into existing irrigation systems using innovative approaches to maximize solar energy utilization.

“The energy generated by the plant drives the pumps responsible for raising the water from the catchment basin to the crown basin, from where it is distributed to all irrigators by gravity,” said Óscar Dupla, manager of the distributed-generation technical office at Acciona Energía

The new system includes decentralized monitoring, automated analysis, fault detection, and reporting, enhancing irrigation efficiency and management, according to the company. Irrigators no longer need to manually activate irrigation as the system is programmed to do it automatically. Additionally, Acciona will sell water to irrigators through a 26-year contract. The company plans to expand the project solution across Spain.

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