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Phoenix Solar drives off light-sensitive intruders

published: 2014-01-17 16:33

Phoenix Solar AG's team of fifteen looks after photovoltaic power plants with a nominal output of around 200 megawatts all over Europe on a 24/7 basis. One of its core service tasks is the operation of the photovoltaic power plants from its location in Ulm, Germany. But, as solar modules and copper cables convert well into cash, the company's staff is more often than not called upon to ensure the security of these large-scale plants. A short while ago, they prevented a burglary in Spain.

November 2013: Under cover of darkness, a lorry approaches La Solana power plant, which is around 150 km south of Madrid. Half a dozen shadowy figures jump from the back of the lorry and start their attempted break-in by scaling the fence. But this time they are out of luck: Following the advice of the Phoenix maintenance team, the plant's operator recently had video surveillance installed. Control room immediately saw the suspicious goings-on. The staff member on duty immediately alerted the local security guards. A few minutes later, the guards arrived at the site and the thieves took flight. Unfortunately they were not caught, but the break-in was prevented and major damage averted.

The day-to-day business of Phoenix Solar AG's maintenance team is generally not as exciting. However, monitoring the plants in their care comes with great responsibility and presents some challenges. Modules and inverters are essential for the plant's profitability. The plant's overall status is monitored via sensors or instruments on an ongoing basis, partly through thermographic imaging with the aid of copters. All data is transferred to Ulm via a satellite connection. Here the system status is displayed in detail on monitors. The staff can respond immediately to any deviation and intervene as quickly as possible. Maintenance work is carried out on site by local contractual partners.

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