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Solar-powered variable frequency drive

07 August 2019

A combination of remoteness and lack of mains electricity meant a Lebanese agricultural business had to rely on a costly and inefficient diesel generator to power a water pump for irrigation. It was only with the introduction of a dedicated solar-powered variable frequency drive (VFD) that photovoltaic arrays (PV) could be introduced to power the 110kW submersible water pump.

Technimex of Lebanon, a sales partner of Invertek Drives, supplied the Optidrive P2 Solar IP55 VFD to specialist electrical and industrial automation company Takom Energy who installed and commissioned the system for an agricultural customer.

The solar VFD has been developed and manufactured by Invertek for use in pumping applications that are generally isolated from the commercial grid by using PV arrays, such as watering, irrigation, agriculture, swimming pools, water treatment works and water supplies.

“The client was using a diesel generator that was not only inefficient but costly in terms of its remoteness, with the need to regularly transport fuel to the isolated location, alongside regular maintenance and other issues,” said Eddy Nasr, Electrical Engineer at Technimex.

“Photovoltaic panels could be installed to power the water pump, negating the need for the diesel generator.”

He said with simple set-up and commissioning of the VFD its algorithm allowed it to reach 50Hz and obtained a strong flow of water from the pump to the irrigation system for eight hours a day.

Eddy added: “The energy produced is clean and even on cloudy days the VFD and pump is able to work, ensuring a constant supply of water. Compared to other similar systems installed in the same area the Invertek Optidrive P2 SolarPump is providing more efficient results.”

The client will see a return on investment within 18 months through reduced operational and maintenance costs and increased efficiencies.

The Optidrive P2 SolarPump VFD is available in IP20, IP55 and IP66 enclosures and has a range of key features from its extended DC operative voltage range (345-800Vdc HV, 185-410Vdc LV), advanced pump functions, remote monitoring and pipe-fill function, to its compatibility with all types of motors and digital inputs for tank high water level and well-low water detection.

Nick Thorne, Global Sales Manager at Invertek, said: “There is an increasing demand for reliable pumping systems in some of the warmest and remotest parts of the world where commercial electricity grids are inaccessible or demand for greener energy is paramount.

“The combination of PV technology with the Optidrive P2 SolarPump ensures efficient, green and reliable pump control.”