Villanueva, where solar energy meets the digital world

Pubblicato mercoledì, 30 maggio 2018

“With a total installed power of 828 MW, Villanueva is the largest solar plant of the Americas and Enel’s most extensive solar project in the world.”

The record-breaking plant 

Slated for completion in late 2018, Villanueva served as a proving ground for EGP to develop pioneering solutions in guaranteeing a swift installation of solar panels - over 18 thousand in a day - as well as high safety standards in a construction site which hasn’t witnessed accidents in over 5 million work-hours. 

“Once fully operational, Villanueva will generate 1,850 GWh yearly. Renewable energy to power over 1.4 million Mexican households.”

The solar plant is full to the brim with innovation, mostly for its technical and technological wizardries that will make it squeeze every watt from the sun’s rays. 

“Over 380 thousand automated trackers are an integral part of the plant, tasked with tilting the panels as they follow the sun’s path to maximize their efficiency.”

A digital construction

One of the greatest challenges entailed with such a monumental construction is the setting-up of rapid-fire solutions for the countless requirements arising daily. 

“During the most intense days of the construction phase, the Villanueva site saw a constant coming and going of containers full of building materials, with a daily peak of 60 or, on average, 4 every 30 minutes.”

In such a vast and well-structured construction site, jostling with over 20 million components, in climate conditions that at times proved almost unbearable, digital innovation was instrumental in developing applications capable of monitoring every aspect of the construction effort, from the supply chain management to the exact positioning of each panel. 

“The sheer size of the project called for the deployment of software capable of providing an accurate, real-time status on the supply chain, thus reducing the margin of error and the heat exposure our colleagues had to endure on the ground.”

– Silvia Rangel, EGP chief of logistics for Mexico and Central America

Innovation as teamwork

In order to win this challenge, the ICT sector, Engineering, Construction and Logistics teams joined forces to develop four tailor-made digital solutions.

These Apps operate on any available smartphone or tablet and have proved to be a worthy field assistant in the construction site. 

“By working together we’ve come to the conclusion that developing task-specific apps, both for internal resources and contractors, was the way to save time, speed up the tracking process and enhance the control of logistics.”

– Emo Frosali, EGP construction manager for Mexico and Central America

Specifically, the 4 apps allow to:

  • Monitor nonconformities pertaining to safety issues and relaying them promptly to contractors.
  • Supervise the assembly of trackers during the positioning of solar panels in their respective arrays.  
  • Track and control the installation process of each component starting from its delivery in the construction site.
  • Define in detail the operational routine checks performed by maintenance teams. 

“Offering a quality tool that proves to be a pivotal element in the development of the project is something deeply gratifying for us all.”

– Noemi Diaz, IT Business Partner

What was achieved in Villanueva is one of the cornerstones of the E&C (R)evolution, our project aiming to revolutionize construction works through the adoption of cutting-edge technology deriving from industry 4.0.

Mexico was just the first step in a journey that will take us towards a digital transformation of all our construction sites throughout the world.