Advanced photo voltaic (PV) test equipment ensures thousands of rooftop solar power panels installed at one of Asia’s largest factories operate safely and at peak performance levels.
Vehicle tyre manufacturer Goodyear Malaysia installed 6,680 solar panels to power its corporate office as well as production plant in Shah Alam in 2019 as part of a move towards securing a more sustainable energy supply under plans to reduce its carbon footprint.
The move saw a state-of-the-art PV system, which features several ground-mounted 50-Megawatt (MW) solar panels, capable of producing 2.5-mega-watts of power connected to six Low Voltage (LV) substations located within the plant to power production plant, offices and warehouse buildings.
It’s estimated that the investment will cut carbon emissions by almost two million kilograms over 25 years while simultaneously reducing Goodyear Malaysia’s reliance on fossil fuels and overall energy costs.
With the Shah Alam installation designed for maximum productivity and operating uptimes, it is vital that associated on-site electrical testing and maintenance work is carried out quickly and effectively – and to the highest technical standards.
This sees the Seaward Solar Utility Pro used for the testing of multiple strings in parallel while open circuit voltage (Voc), short circuit current (Isc), irradiance (W/m2) and ambient temperature are simultaneously checked.
The Solar Utility Pro’s 40A current capability can test parallel wired strings up to a maximum of 1500V/ 40A, eliminating the time-consuming task of separating strings. A single press of the test button provides values for open circuit voltage and short circuit current, and when paired with an irradiance meter, will record irradiance, module and ambient temperature measurements. Up to 999 records can be stored on the tester’s internal memory, which can be downloaded easily as a CSV file to a PC for asset management and review purposes.
Testing at the Goodyear site is supported by Kuala Lumpur-based electrical services specialists RAPS Solutions. It opted for the Seaward solar PV test kits because they combine the electrical test and datalogging capabilities of hand-held solar panel testers with all the accessories needed for comprehensive solar panel installation, commissioning and maintenance support.
Technical director Subaramanniam Arumugam said it’s important to ensure the solar panels produce energy safely and efficiently. This must also include the capacity to determine how well individual units are working and to identify and rectify any faults quickly.
“It’s essential that the panels are capable of generating the required power during day time to ensure the factory operates efficiently,” he added. “This requires regular testing for accurate fault diagnosis and repairs, but also associated capabilities such as remote monitoring, data collection and analysis, and the transfer of on-site measurements and results to a database. This is achieved successfully with the Seaward tester, which is a very accurate and reliable instrument.”