Cloud-Connected Soft-PLC for Renewables

Solar-plant owner requirements

In the current, and rapidly evolving solar energy environment, an imperative requirement for solar plant owners, is to have a high degree of control. Due to regulation, grid requirements or operational reasons, many plants require:

Energy export limitation (dynamic or static limiting of plant production);
Grid network connection (live connection to electricity grid operator to control plant);
Zone control (starting and stopping specific plant zones);
Integrated energy storage (battery management);
Switching and resetting of circuit breakers (remote operation of breakers); and
Reactive/active control (power factor control).

Solar plant owners need a simple method to add or supplement control to existing plants. Ardexa has teamed up with logi.cals to provide these robust, safe and simple-to-deploy control systems.

logi.cals – Leader in soft-PLC systems

With locations in Austria and Germany, logi.cals GmbH (“logi.cals”) have been developing automation software since 1987. As a recognised leader in soft-Programmable Logic Controllers (“PLC”), logi.cals are able to deliver a full control capability PLC on a simple edge computer. Their programming solutions are IEC 61131-3 compliant.   The highly portable run time system, logi.RTS is scalable from the microcontroller level to multi-core industrial PCs (“IPC”). These tools enable qualified controls engineers to rapidly develop their own logic for their specific plant needs. More than 30,000 engineers worldwide are using logi.cals software to automate complex systems including, but not limited to solar plants, hydroelectric power plants and steel mills, as well as buildings, ships, buses, machines and much more.

Integrated control and digitisation

Ardexa Agent and logi.cals RTS are able to share edge computers, resulting in cost-effectiveness and efficiency. The logi.cals RTS platform; logi.RTS is downloaded remotely on the existing edge device. Using an Ardexa secure tunnel to access the RTS, the controls engineer can develop, deploy and test the various control routines. The RTS has built in drivers to directly read and write to Modbus equipment on the network.

Repeatable and adjustable across asset portfolios

Once the PLC logic has been implemented on a specific plant configuration and equipment, it is simply a matter of downloading the logi.RTS soft-PLC on the other plants and copying the configuration. No further development is required. Importantly, as a plant changes over time and new equipment is installed (such as batteries), then the logic can be rapidly adjusted in IEC 61131-3 programming standards. As a globally accepted programming standard for industrial control, this ensures that no client will have ‘black box’ controllers in these energy plants again.

Excellent results in rapid time

Led by the client appointed controls engineer, the platform has been implemented across multiple energy plants across Europe. These plants ranged from 300kWp to 25MWp, each with optimal results. Implementation was mostly done remotely using data rapidly accessible in the Ardexa cloud for troubleshooting and controller tuning, where required.

Strong collaborative relationship between logi.cals and Ardexa

logi.cals and Ardexa have developed a strong and ethical working relationship over many years. Collaboration at both management and technical levels is very strong to enable work on a number of solutions across various industries.  The systems work in coordination to deliver a cloud-connected PLC.

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