Bugaba Plant, Solar Energy Generation & Merchandising
The Enphase C250 microinverters were installed on this solar energy plant for a system of 2.44 MW total installed power. The main challenges for the installation were the remote and hard-to-access location of the plant, the minimization of maintenance costs, the maximization of energy generation and the need to reduce central points of failure.
NSolar was the installer in charge of developing this major solar project. The main focus of NSolar, headquartered in Panama City, has been the Panamanian market. Since its founding in 2015, it has used Enphase products in its services, having performed 35 installations with Enphase products for a total of 4 MW of installed power.
Empresa Nacional de Energía S.A. (EMNADESA)
EMNADESA is a company that specializes in energy generation and marketing and is currently diversifying its energy matrix, which is the main motivation for the development of the Bugaba Plant.
The Bugaba Plant is a small utility generation plant, developed for the purpose of selling energy to national electric power companies through the Red Nacional de Distribuidores (National Distributors Network).
Main challenges of the project
Due to the complexity of the terrain and the need to manage surface water, the plant design called for flexibility.
Producing the largest amount of energy per unit of surface area was a must, given that the land is leased and it was necessary to minimize the land area used.
Operation and maintenance:
The location of the plant is close to the border with Costa Rica. It is a six-hour drive from Panama City, which results in high maintenance costs when other technology types are taken into account.
The weather in Panama is hot and humid, creating a hostile environment for inverters or strings that require cooling by forced heat transfer. Fortunately, Enphase offers products that do not suffer from a central point of failure. If a failure does occur, any affected microinverters can be quickly replaced to mitigate the loss.
The use of an AC system eliminated the need for installing a more expensive grounding system for the protection of the operator.
EMNADESA has a PPA (power purchasing agreement) with Panamanian power companies, making high system availability a matter of utmost importance.
Enphase helped to solve these challenges by providing microinverters that do not require periodic maintenance and do not have a central point of failure, resulting in a reduction of operating and maintenance costs.
"Facing the need to submit a competitive bid and earn the trust of the client, Enphase was clearly the best choice. When taking into account the additional energy generation of the microinverters, the 20 year warranty and the savings in operating and maintenance costs, Enphase microinverters are the answer to win the project."
How Enphase benefitted EMNADESA in this project
The Enphase products allowed us to accommodate design changes that had to be made at the last minute, without incurring major additional energy costs. The project up and running, and from the start has generated more energy than was forecast.
During the commissioning process, the Enphase monitoring system (Enlighten) allowed us to identify certain photo-voltaic modules that were not operating according to specifications. This would have been very difficult to diagnose with other products and would have delayed delivery of the plant.
"Taking into account the 20-year warranty, the flexibility of the design, the additional energy, panel-level monitoring and the simplification of maintenance offered by Enphase, we feel like we are witnessing a fundamental change in the way large-scale solar systems will be designed in the future."