25
September

EPC photovoltaic process – The Construction phase



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After analyzing the first two phases of the EPC photovoltaic service, this article will focus on the most practical phase of installation of the various components that make up the plant.

The main steps that characterize the part of  “Construction” are:

Installing the module support structure
Whether it is a photovoltaic system on a roof or a ground-based plant, the fixing of photovoltaic modules must be guaranteed by means of a suitable support structure. The support structure is usually made up of metal profiles (brackets) that are assembled manually and secured in various ways (by means of screws, bolts, clamps, ballasts or poles attached to the ground with special punching machines).

Assembling photovoltaic module strings
The strings are then assembled on the support structure: typically 20-30 rows of photovoltaic modules connected in series by means of special quick couplers (called MC4). The fixing is carried out by means of special clamps that slide on the bracket guides to allow proper calibration of the relative positions of the modules.

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Junction Box placed on the back of the photovoltaic module for connecting the MC4 connectors

A photovoltaic module (power ranging from 260 W to 320 W) has typical dimensions of 1mx2m with a weight of about 20-25 kg, so a 1 MWp photovoltaic system, consisting of strings of about 5-10 kW each, requires 10,000- 20,000 m2 of gross space available

Linking strings
Multiple string groups can be linked:
– directly to a string inverter
– to a parallel frame (said field or string frame)
These components are indispensable to ensure plant safety and to interrupt the current of the string in case of maintenance or to protect the system from overcurrents and overvoltages.

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String Inverter (on the left) + Field String for Linking Strings (on the right)

Rooms/Cabins of Transformation and Delivery
The cables coming from the photovoltaic field are conveyed to a technical venue (in case of plant on the ground specially created transformation and delivery cabins), in which the components that transform the electricity are then installed and then are self-consume and / or sold to the power grid, including: centralized inverter (when using parallel frames), BT / MT transformer (for installations over 100/200 kWp) and low and medium voltage switchboards.

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Transformation and delivery cabin

Balance of System (BOS)
Balance of System includes all components outside the photovoltaic modules, ie assembly systems, cabling (including foundations, excavations and pipes) and transformation to integrate modules into the structural and electrical systems of the assembly or installation area.

Commissioning
After completing the construction of the photovoltaic system, the commissioning phase includes all the tests and tests required to verify the correct functioning of the installed systems. Among these, the most important ones are listed: checking voltage and current levels, checking the protective and grounding devices, checking electrical circuit isolation, ignition, shutdown, and mains failure.

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