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Utility-scale solar PV and hybrid power plants

Wärtsilä's offering for solar PV

Wärtsilä offers utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants of 10 MW and above, as well as engine-solar PV hybrid power plants. We offer both solutions with full EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) delivery. The target customer segments are utilities, independent power producers (IPPs) and industrial customers, seeking an electricity supply that is both clean and cost-effective. The projects can be grid-connected or off-grid.

Our EPC projects include project management, civil work, site management and supervision, engineering, materials and the equipment. The solar PV equipment includes inverters, and switchgear and control systems. The solar PV modules are acquired from leading module suppliers. 

Wärtsilä’s decades-long, worldwide experience in delivering complex turnkey engine power projects is a great asset. The existing power plant customer base in 175 countries is another advantage.  

     Solar PV - Q&A

Wärtsilä’s solar business Q&A

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Solar PV - Q&A 
  Wärtsilä’s solar business Q&A

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Our competitive edge

Global turnkey capability: we can deliver EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) power projects in any part of the world.

Global sales network and strong customer base in areas with significant solar energy potential: Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and South East Asia.

Unique solar hybrid solutions with ultra-flexible engines capable of following rapid changes in solar output.

Complete project development and financing services: we help customers find optimal solar-based solutions.



Engine-solar PV hybrid plants

Wärtsilä is the first company in the world to offer utility-scale hybrid power plants that unite large fuel-based power stations with solar PV parks. In a hybrid solution, Wärtsilä Smart Power Generation plants, based on ultra-flexible internal combustion engines, are coupled with a solar PV farm of 10 MW or more.

Engine-solar hybrids are all about saving fuel, which results in cost savings and environmental benefits. During the sunny hours of the day, solar PV modules produce the electricity required by the end user, and the engines are on stand-by or being operated at partial load. At sunset, when the electrical output from the solar modules ceases, the engines are ramped up. The two units of the power station are optimised so that solar energy is automatically utilised to the maximum, and the engines provide a secondary source of generation. 


solar hybrid power plant

Follow the sun

Wärtsilä’s engine-based Smart Power Generation plants are known for their extreme operational flexibility: the engines can be started individually from zero to full power in less than two minutes, and stopped within 30 seconds. Engines can be switched on and off continuously without impact on maintenance costs. They can ramp output up and down very quickly, and their fuel efficiency is exceptionally high at partial loads. These features are especially important for solar hybrids. A cloud covering the sun can reduce the output of the solar unit by 80 percent within one minute. The engines compensate for the loss by ramping up the power immediately and automatically, by dozens of megawatts per minute if needed. Internal combustion engines represent the only technology capable of such ultra-flexible operations.

Over 4 million barrels of oil saved in 20 years


Saving fuel, saving money

The solar hybrid can be either a new build or retrofit. New build means that the Smart Power Generation unit and the adjacent solar farm are constructed under a single turnkey contract. In a retrofit project, solar modules are combined with an existing Smart Power Generation plant. The first solar project announced by Wärtsilä is a retrofit case: an existing 250 MW engine plant in Jordan, delivered by Wärtsilä in 2014, will be combined with a 46 MW solar farm.

Read the IPP4 reference case

The economic logic of a hybrid is to save fuel and pay back the additional PV module investment through the savings. In most cases the fuel is heavy fuel oil, light fuel oil or natural gas. The more expensive the fuel, the shorter the payback time. This applies to both new build and retrofit hybrid plants, and makes hybrids particularly attractive in places where fuel is costly, such as islands and land-locked African countries. In addition to the price of fuel, many other variables impact the economic feasibility: the capacity of the engine and solar units, the operation profile, the amount of solar irradiation, land costs, etc.  




Reducing the carbon footprint

For example, a grid-connected 150 MW hybrid facility comprising 100 MW of engines and 50 MW of solar modules can save 21 percent of the oil consumption, compared to a pure engine-based power plant. This represents a reduction of some 200 000 barrels per year. Assuming delivery price of 50 USD/barrel, the fuel cost savings are 10 million USD per year. In carbon emissions, the reduction is equally 21 percent, or approximately 83 000 tonnes per year. This hypothetical example case presumes a utility-owned facility, located in an equatorial region, operating on a typical hot climate residential load profile (with the demand peak at noon due to extensive air conditioning).

In addition to the direct benefits for the customer and the environment, solar hybrids also bring indirect benefits at the country level. After the payback time, solar energy is cost-free and helps to reduce the overall costs of generation in the power system. This is particularly important in countries where fuel is imported at high cost. Reduced system-level costs ultimately reduce the cost of electricity for consumers. 

Operations management and maintenance for solar PV power plants

A Wärtsilä operations management and maintenance solution is a proven way to optimise the productivity and profitability of your solar PV power plant throughout its entire lifecycle. The solution also increases the lifetime of your power plant in a safe, reliable and environmentally sustainable way. 

     Key benefits

  • Includes operations management and scheduled maintenance
  • Guarantees performance
  • Ensures predictable lifecycle costs
  • Minimises risk
  • Maximises the productive lifetime of your power plant

Solar PV - O&M

Operations management and maintenance for solar PV power plants

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  • Essakane Solar SAS, Burkina Faso
    The Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso receives its needed power from Africa’s largest engine-solar PV hybrid power plant delivered by Wärtsilä. Benefits for the mine include reduced fuel costs and a smaller carbon footprint. The capability to control and optimise the usage of the solar PV power and engines enables the gold mine to reduce its fuel consumption by an estimated 6 million litres per year and its annual CO2 emissions by 18,500 tons.

    Essakane Solar SAS, Burkina Faso

  • IPP4 engine-solar PV hybrid, Jordan
    Wärtsilä delivered IPP4, the 250 MW Smart Power Generation plant to AES Jordan in 2014. The plant has been operated at peaking mode, following the typical daily demand curve of a hot country with extensive use of air conditioning. This involves a rapidly rising load in the morning hours, a sharp peak at noon, then a diminishing load in the afternoon and low consumption at night. The tri-fuel plant uses either heavy fuel oil, light fuel oil or natural gas, according to...

    IPP4 engine-solar PV hybrid, Jordan

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