Solar in Singapore monitors transformers in real-time with digital solutions from Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

Once installed solar photovoltaic panels provide clean energy for decades; their manufacturing however is an energy-intensive process requiring a reliable power supply.

Transformers are critical assets in electrical networks. They are designed for decades of operation but the probability of failure increases with age.

REC Solar is a multinational solar energy company, it has about 10,000 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity worldwide. A Reliable and quality power supply are critical for it to maintain high quality in the solar photovoltaic panels being manufactured at its facilities worldwide.

Solution for real-time monitoring of power grids

With the objective of ensuring high power supply reliability at its manufacturing facility in Singapore, REC Solar has adopted online monitoring and diagnostics sensors from Hitachi ABB Power Grids for the two 75/95 MVA transformers at the unit. Digital sensors will enable continuous monitoring of gases being built up in transformer oil – a major indicator of transformer health. The TXpert™ Ready CoreSense™ sensor will be used for continuous monitoring of hydrogen and moisture levels in the oil of both transformers – the first warning indicators of deterioration in transformer health. The TXpert™ Ready CoreSense™ M10 can measure nine gases that have been mounted on a movable skid and provided as a Nursing Unit. When the CoreSense™ indicates high hydrogen levels in any one of the transformers, the Nursing Unit will be quickly moved to it for a more detailed analysis, giving high flexibility to monitor both transformers with one multigas sensor. The Nursing Unit can also be offered as a service to support extending operations of a sick transformer until a scheduled shutdown.

“Thanks for introducing the valuable online monitoring product CoreSense™ M10, which is helping us to detect the possibility of premature failure and the status of critical transformer health in real-time”, said Padmanabhan Sivakumar, Senior Electrical Engineer of REC Solar, Singapore. “I certainly believe that for major distribution systems it is good to equip transformers with digital monitoring and diagnostics. This will develop the organization’s confidence in power supply reliability and provide business continuity”.

The impact of transformers on power grid efficiency

For many years analyzing gases dissolved in transformer oil has been the method for transformer diagnostics, detecting incipient faults, and checking suspect transformers. Samples are taken manually typically once a year or once in 6 months for laboratory analysis.

Compared to the above time-based methodology continuous gas monitoring with digital sensors has major advantages, greatly reducing the risk of unplanned incidents and costly consequences of related outages. It provides valuable input to plan for maintenance, repair, or replacement for aging transformers.

The CoreSense family of DGA sensors is part of the TXpert™ Ecosystem for the digitalization of transformers. The ecosystem is open, scalable, and manufacturer agnostic with a complete suite of products, software, services, and solutions.



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