Solar and Hydro meet at world’s largest hybrid power plant

By Huawei

What appears to be a “PV sea” is actually Phase 1 of the Kela PV plant, the world’s largest, highest-altitude, first GW scale hydro-solar hybrid power plant, covering an area of 16km2, with a total installed capacity of 1GW.

50 kilometers away from the Kela plant, the 295m high Lianghekou Dam stands on the Yalong River, generating hydro power and  providing flood control. The hydro power plant has an installed capacity of 3 million kW and a total water storage capacity of 10.8 billion m3, making a critical contribution to renewable energy development in the basin. The Kela and Lianghekou plants are connected via 500 kV power transmission lines, achieving hydro-solar hybrid transmission.

Given the extreme weather conditions at the Kela plant, and the associated challenges faced when carrying out O&M tasks,  the digital, intelligent solution provided by Huawei FusionSolar was selected to establish an integrated O&M platform, building a benchmark for high-altitude hydro-solar hybrid smart PV plants.

More than 5,300 Huawei smart string inverters serve as the “heart” of the plant, with a high protection rating of IP66 ensuring stable and reliable operation in the challenging conditions.

FusionSolar’s unique patented Smart String-level Disconnection (SSLD) technology can intelligently identify DC side faults and implement automatic disconnection to avoid fire risks and ensure plant safety, with the Smart I-V Curve Diagnosis able to perform remote, online and full-scanning health inspection to quickly locate faults. The smart CV diagnosis system checks more than 2 million PV modules onsite, identifying problems such as shading, hot spots and microcracks and the smart co-diagnosis system provides diagnosis reports for the plant, making O&M both intelligent and accurate.

The FusionSolar solution uses an intelligent grid connection algorithm to enable inverters to adapt to power grids in all scenarios (SCR ≥ 1.1) and provide excellent power quality, improving grid-connection reliability and supporting the power output of the entire PV plant. In June this year, the Kela plant became operational, with an estimated annual yield of 2 billion kWh, sufficient to meet the annual electricity demand of 1 million households. The connection of the Kela PV and Lianghekou plants not only solves the problem of renewable energy consumption, but also increases power supply during peak hours in the summer months, the clean power supply capacity of the Yalong River Basin now exceeding 50 billion kWh.

In September 2023, a joint innovation centre established by Yalong Hydro and Huawei Digital Power was officially opened. As a large-scale demonstration base for hydro, wind and solar integration, the Yalong River Basin will become an industry innovation hub for renewable energy development. The two parties will carry out research on clean energy base construction and O&M, plant operation safety and energy saving, and grid-forming energy storage to provide advanced products and solutions for the industry and address the various industry pain points and technical difficulties.

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