The plant, located in the Kalahari Desert close to the town of Kathu and to Sishen, is owned by South African construction company WBHO and Italian renewable energy developer and operator Building Energy.

Once completed in 2014, the Kathu facility will become one of the world’s largest PV power plants with a single-axis tracking system.

It will be able to generate 146GWh of clean solar power which will feed into the national grid to meet the needs of more than 40,000 people and reduce the equivalent of about 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

ABB’s Power Systems division head Brice Koch said, "We have a strong track record in delivering turnkey power and automation solutions that are optimizing photovoltaic power plants all over the world."

ABB’s electrical and automation solution will help boost the performance and output of the Kathu plant while ensuring reliability in remote and demanding operating conditions.

The solution comprises a range of ABB power products such as medium- and low-voltage switchgear, distribution transformers, and control and protection devices.

It also includes distributed automation and control products from the Symphony Plus family.

ABB will be responsible for the design, engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of the project.

Prominent features of the solution include the integration of the facility’s electrical equipment and highvoltage substation with its Symphony Plus Distributed Control System (DCS) solution in line with the IEC 61850 open-communication standard for substation automation.

Besides, ABB will also supply an advanced tracking system with a back-tracking algorithm that optimizes tracker movement and removes shadow on the panels.

The solution also features a data-collection system that gathers operational input from the trackers, inverters, string boxes and substation in order to allow remote operation and maintenance, which will help in alleviating the requirement for onsite manning.

With a diverse portfolio of product, system and service solutions for the solar power value chain, ABB has delivered over 50 turnkey PV power facilities across the world.