ABB has provided an automated control system for a portable hybrid solar/diesel/gas microgrid in Australia.

The SunSHIFT portable plant (pictured) combines solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, diesel- and gas-fired generators and optional energy storage. A 141 kWp pilot system has been deployed to power a construction workers’ village in Queensland, augmenting four existing diesel gensets.

ABB’s Microgrid Plus automated control system integrates the plant’s components and the company said it was designed to co-ordinate the operation of hybrid power systems.

The portable plant is being developed and commercialized by UK-based engineering and construction firm Laing O’Rourke in collaboration with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).  The aim is to produce a modular system that will be manufactured off-site and transported to installation sites in container-sized, prefabricated modules.

ABB said the Queensland plant was unpacked and commissioned within a week, then packed up after the pilot period and relocated in another week. 

“Portable hybrid systems such as this have the potential to provide both industries and communities in remote off-grid locations with a viable and portable renewable energy alternative, and would also be useful in emergency activities, such as relief efforts,” ABB said in a statement.