Staff and Students from the Electrical and Civil Engineering programs were fortunate to be able to visit two 200MW Solar farm sites in Co. Meath
The first site at Blunderstown was a site where students got to see how an earthing grid is put in place for a substation and were shown the foundations and site layout.
A total length of approximately 5.5km of copper cable is being laid on site. We saw the excavated trenches, which will be refilled with stone and soil to protect the cable and distribute the loads from the equipment on top. Students got to see structural steel, which brought to life the type of steel designs they are learning in college. All of this steel is heavy, so has to be supported by foundations made of high strength concrete. We also saw the application of the topics covered in our Environmental Engineering modules when looking at the site drainage. Water needs to be removed from the site, but it is important to design the drainage carefully so that nearby watercourses are not affected.
Many thanks to Tommy Duggan (Project Manager) and Ciaran Dywer (Site Electrical Engineer and past Graduate) for walking the group through the site.
The second site at Ballymacarney was a 100kV substation which is about to be commissioned. We were lucky to be given a highly informative tour by Joe Coleran (HV Commissioning Manager Suir Engineering) and Mick Moore (Site Lead Suir Engineering))
Students were taken though the operations of control equipment , the substation layout , the 160MVA transformer. The operation of circuit breakers and disconnectors was demonstrated It was a fantastic opportunity to see real world engineering in practice – especially in the area of HV electrical where many of the topics covered in the Electrical Power Engineering and Electrical Service modules were discussed – Earthing, safety, distance and protective relays and transformers.
Many thanks to Patrick Aylward from Suir Engineering for organising this visit and to all the individuals on site who were kind enough to give us their time and expertise.