- This sustainable initiative is the first of its kind implemented globally among all Linxon sites.
- The solar plant has a 65 kWp capacity and integrates solar panels, a battery, and a diesel generator.
- By using a battery bank, it stores the excess solar energy obtained for nighttime lighting, a mandatory safety requirement.
- The 60 kVA DG diesel generator in the hybrid system backups the solar plant to supply site offices in an emergency event as stand alone.
- Due to the very limited use of diesel generator and thereby less refueling, the oil spill, fire, and other associated risks decreased.
- Using solar panels on the cabinets’ roof, which also acts as a second layer of protection, reduces the heat in the site offices.
- By reducing the operating time of the diesel generator, noise pollution is also reduced.
- We expect about 681 metric tons of greenhouse gases to be reduced over the entire project period.
- We will reuse some installation parts of this proposal to implement similar ones in other sites and, thus, reduce waste.
Linxon is committed to the efforts undertaken by its employees to voluntarily integrate social and environmental concerns into our operations and relationships with our stakeholders. The Abraj team falls within this framework with a photovoltaic (PV)-diesel hybrid system for the site office facilities, becoming the first Linxon team to implement this renewable energy type for Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) work and off-the-grid.
In previous years, the diesel usage for power generation at our sites has driven our strategic focus on exploring the use of renewable options. The combined effects of fossil fuel depletion and environmental degradation awareness are major global problems. Therefore, we are dedicated at all levels to delivering environmentally responsible solutions. Considering this and the abundant amount of solar resources in the territory, the Linxon Gulf team came up with the idea of an integrated system that minimizes the use of diesel energy through solar energy supply.
The solar-diesel initiative is the first Linxon voluntary proposal of its kind and was successfully energized last November 25, 2021. It takes place in the Abraj 132 / 11kV substation project. Within a 24-months timeline, this initiative entails solar panels, a battery bank, a backup diesel generator, and an energy management system to provide the Abraj site office area with enough energy for its operations. The conventional setup only uses a diesel generator, hence a considerable environmental benefit.
The research and development phase included an in-depth analysis of relevant aspects such as space, the study of light and shadow in the place, the energy required (kWh), maintenance costs, a risk assessment, and a contingency plan. Thus, following the conclusions and recommendations of the feasibility study, the team leaned towards using the roofs of five existing cabinets belonging to Linxon and the client, given the space limitations on the site. Correspondingly, to take full advantage of solar radiation, an axis tracker system maximizes solar energy production by moving the panels in the direction of the sun throughout the day. As a result, this solar plant will have a projected nominal power of 65 kW, compared to a peak load energy consumption of 46 kW.
The design also considers storing the surplus solar energy obtained during the day using a low-capacity battery bank for nighttime lighting purposes. The security and safety of the workers and third parties is always the priority, and therefore, it is compulsory to keep the site lit adequately during the darker hours.
When it is necessary to fill the void created by a lack of production of the PV system, the design considers a 60 kVA diesel generator as a backup plan. This diesel generator is able to fully power the site in the event of an emergency in such a way that both energies complement each other. Furthermore, an energy management system will be deployed to optimize the entire arrangement, as the use of the diesel generator set should be limited and the solar energy is intermittent.
An eco-friendly impact
Solar energy has acquired greater importance and a growing presence in the last decades within renewable energies. Its many advantages significantly reduce the carbon footprint since it does not generate direct greenhouse gases or pollute during its use (only those created by producing the solar panels). Moreover, it does not require constant extraction of materials for its operation, reducing the need for fossil fuels and helping to conserve natural resources.
A recent study(1) concluded that the carbon footprint of a PV system is 10 to 53 orders of magnitude lower than the reported emission from burning oil and that these emissions could be further reduced by order of magnitude using novel manufacturing materials. Although PV hybrid systems do not have zero emissions, they represent a sustainable solution in specific contexts. For example, solar power can significantly reduce the average day fuel expenditure and, thus, the emission of greenhouse gases. Plus, energy management systems can ensure fuel-saving and optimal operation of the overall design. These functions represent both environmental benefits, as mentioned before, and economic ones by saving fuel and reducing energy costs.
Projects with solar energy can be cheap in the long run, but the initial installation cost is high. However, a solar panel lifespan is about 25 to 30 years(2), becoming an economical alternative if adequately maintained. As for this initiative, the anticipated cost savings will be presented on the progress of the solar system in 1 year, with regular monitoring and meter reading of energy consumption.
Finally, operational advantages include reducing noise pollution, the risk of oil spills, and constant control and fire risk. Also, having an additional roof with solar panels reduces the heat inside the offices and reduces energy consumption from the air conditioners.
Committed with sustainability
Since 2021, Linxon has integrated its environmental compliance into its key performance indicators (KPIs) and has committed to implementing actions that allow us to reduce our ecological footprint. Therefore, we consider that this pilot project can reduce our environmental impact in operations and thus contribute to holding the rise in global average temperature.
With this PV hybrid initiative, we hope to reduce about 681 metric tons of greenhouse gases and reduce physical waste since we will reuse some parts employed in this scheme to implement other similar ones in the future. Moreover, as a voluntary initiative, the Abraj project adds value to our corporate principles, reflecting our workers’ quality and sustainability standards.
Our responsibility is to improve the environmental performance of all Linxon activities and projects, ensuring risk management for the safety and security of our employees and identifying opportunities for improvement that allow us to be more efficient in the use of natural resources.
(1) Tawalbeh, M., Al-Othman, A., Kafiah, F., Abdelsalam, E., Almomani, F., & Alkasrawi, M. (2020). Environmental impacts of solar photovoltaic systems: A critical review of recent progress and future outlook. Science of The Total Environment, 143528.
(2) Berg, N. (2018, 05 11). GreenBiz. Retrieved from What will happen to solar panels after their useful lives are over?: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/what-will-happen-solar-panels-after-their-useful-lives-are-over#:~:text=But%20the%20solar%20panels%20generating,t%20long%20from%20being%20retired.