Operators of newly constructed solar farms need to begin producing commercial power as quickly as possible. Using load bank solutions to expedite the commissioning process helps EPC firms meet production goals and end-of-the-year tax incentives. Load testing is also the only method of fully energizing a solar system that ensures proper function.
How should you conduct this type of load testing? Can you use the power grid for load testing solar farms?
If the grid is available and the utility allows testing on the circuit, you can use the grid to verify system functionality. However, using the grid can present significant challenges:
• The grid may be unavailable when you are ready to test your solar farm. The utility’s engineering staff may be busy with other projects and are not able to perform a witness test in a timely manner.
• The utility may require prior load testing and commissioning to prove system functionality before allowing you to connect to the grid. Most tests conducted against the utility grid only energize the system to less than 30% of its capacity.
• With no control over the load testing schedule, you may not meet your contractual obligations or tax incentive deadlines. By delaying commissioning, you extend the time it takes to realize a return on your investment.
But what if the grid is unavailable? If you located your solar farm in a remote area and the utility has not completed installing transmission lines, you must rely on load banks for testing. Load bank testing allows you to emulate the grid and test your solar system to the fullest capacity, guaranteeing maximum performance of your assets.
Working with a load bank provider to conduct load testing for solar farms offers a viable alternative to relying on an existing power grid. Even if the grid is available, load bank testing removes dependence on the utility and keeps your project on schedule.
By using load banks for load testing your solar farm, you can:
• Eliminate your reliance on the power grid.
• Gain control over your load testing schedule and test at your convenience.
• Accelerate the time-to-revenue. Waiting for the grid can cost your operation extra time and money.
• Meet your contractual obligations and avoid penalties from utilities. You can supply power within the agreed upon time frame.
• Validate system performance by testing the complete system as installed. When you test to operational specifications, you improve the reliability and availability of your operation.
• Energize your system to 100% of its rating to ensure all systems are operating correctly.
• Meet the federal and state qualifying deadlines for renewable energy production tax credits.
• Leverage the trained technicians and specialized monitoring equipment of your load bank provider. Working with a load bank provider helps you save on engineering labor.
• Troubleshoot your solar farm operation before you energize the system.
• Document test results and your solar farm’s adherence to IEEE 1547.1 interconnection test procedures.
Load testing for solar farms requires specialized expertise and flexible, reliable solutions. By partnering with an experienced load bank provider, you can emulate the grid to complete your commissioning project successfully.
Load Bank Solutions Engineered for Solar Farms
With both resistive and reactive solutions, ComRent offers the only fleet of load banks in the U.S. designed for solar farms.
ComRent equipment delivers the variable, sustained loads required to meet the strenuous 600+ hours of testing mandated by solar farms. In fact, ComRent’s solutions have incurred zero failures on hundreds of renewable energy tests.
To help ensure the success of your solar farm load testing project, ComRent offers a complimentary consultation to review your requirements and propose the right load bank solution for your application. Contact us today at 888-881-7118 or visit our website for more information on load banks and solar farms.