CNR develops linear photovoltaic solar power with ITE INES.2S

Research and innovation
Published on 09/22/2021

Linear photovoltaic power plants are characterized by their ability to extend over long distances, from a few hundred meters for most existing installations (noise barriers), to several tens of kilometers for future plants (railroad lines, freeways, canals).

Along the Rhône, CNR operates 400 km of dykes, an opportunity to develop "linear photovoltaics". The innovation lies in making the most of land that has already been mobilized, while preserving its other uses, and involves a number of technical and technological challenges.

Indeed, if we were to use the design principles of conventional photovoltaic power plants, this would lead to substantial cable lengths and resistive losses. We therefore need to review and optimize the architecture of linear power plants. This means determining the number of grid connection points, and the number and power of transformers and converters, depending on the characteristics of the site, to reduce losses to a minimum at an acceptable cost. This also leads us to study the most appropriate voltage level, and to consider moving from low-voltage DC (<1500 V) to medium-voltage, with new constraints.

CNR is conducting these studies within the framework of the INES.2S ITE. For example, the work has enabled us to develop a software tool for determining the optimum cabling for such power plants, and to draw up a report on the state of the art. 

This work is being carried out as part of the Institut pour la Transition Energétique (ITE) INES.2S, co-financed by the French government under the Programme d'Investissements d'Avenir (ANR-10-IEED-0014-01).

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