For many years Network Video Technologies (NVT), has supplied an unparalleled choice of high-performance and cost-effective solutions for Solar Plant surveillance applications across Europe and America. With the recent introduction of Solar Plants to the UK, British power producers are now reaping the benefits of NVT transmission technology when securing these high-value sites.
To date, Integrated Security Design Ltd (ISD-Tech), has installed 600 channels of surveillance video at over 30 solar farms across the UK; gaining an industry-wide reputation for providing high-quality, high-performance CCTV systems in these harsh RFI environments. Based on a common specification, the installations have all featured NVT UTP CCTV Hybrid Video technology to provide interference immune high-quality CCTV image transmission, over distances of up to 1.6km (1 mile).
Nicky Stokes, MD of ISD-Tech, said: “We first became involved with solar plants when we expanded one of our existing customer’s sites using NVT technology. Since then, we have become known as an industry authority on the subject of solar plant CCTV design and installation. Our in-house design team pride themselves on guiding our customers through the entire installation, from conception, through CAD design, to installation and remote maintenance.”
The NVT advantage
Specified by ISD-Tech as an alternative cable medium versus the use of coax, Cat5 UTP is used to provide the cornerstone of their high-performance CCTV video transmission solution. The use of flexible UTP cable permits simple and quick installations, and has helped to minimise engineering time on-site and disruption to site operations – with the associated cost saving and project management benefits this brings. “This is a critical factor at these solar sites,” said Stokes. “The use of NVT transmission technology has been so successful that it has been included at each site, as part of the authorised technical specification. The NVT product is of such a high-quality that we are happy to include this in all future installations.
Providing an economical deployment of NVT technology, the ISD-Tech installations employ NVT NV-214A-M single channel video transceivers at each static camera, and transmit video via Cat5 UTP to NVT NV-1642 16-Channel StubEQ™ Active Receiver Hubs, connected locally to a digital video recorder (DVR). From the DVR, images are encoded onto a WAN for distribution to a remote control room, which centrally monitors all the solar plant sites 24/7.
“This design template is also readily expandable,” added Stokes. “It’s simple and cost-effective to cater for the addition of new cameras to cover newly expanded areas of the solar fields, as and when they are required.
“Unlike some of the cheaper UTP baluns that many of our installation competitors use, thanks to NVT’s unique ‘built-in’ interference immunity, we are able to install NVT UTP cables in ducting alongside the sites’ main power transmission infrastructure. It’s very reassuring to know that we can rely on NVT products to be totally unaffected by the proximity of huge RFI power sources, and deliver perfect camera images to the control room. “Another benefit is that the end-user doesn’t have to pay for expensive separate cable ducting to be installed.
“The current flow of each solar field changes throughout the day, posing quite a challenge to video transmission – as high-power outputs are produced by the solar fields at mid day, falling with the onset of evening. This is where the automatic adjustment of camera video signal by NVT DigitalEQ technology comes into its own, providing a solution by continuously adjusting signal levels to ensure that the same great image quality is transmitted back to the equipment room – no matter what the available light or electrical conditions.”
Best of both worlds
NVT technology has been integrated at the sites to provide the best of both analogue CCTV and digital video transmission solutions. High-quality NVT analogue camera signals are distributed to an on-site DVR, to afford the best possible quality of recorded images for investigative/evidential purposes. In addition, both live and recorded camera images are encoded for browser-based monitoring. “This means the power provider can secure and protect the solar fields, whilst also meeting their duty of care responsibilities – ensuring any trespassers can be identified and stopped quickly,” explained Stokes. “Due to the large electrical currents they produce, solar fields can be hazardous places. Our CCTV systems have proven to provide a very effective security and management tool, ensuring only authorised personnel gain site access.”
Thanks to the installation expertise of ISD-Tech engineers, NVT UTP CCTV video transmission products are yielding significant savings, superior image quality and consistency of interference free camera video in Solar Plant surveillance systems across the UK. The NVT based CCTV installations have a track-record of providing a flexible, future-proof security and management aid, that can protect infrastructure and capital investment at these cutting-edge power generation facilities. In the future, many more sites will benefit from ISD-Tech’s technical know-how, as the company plans to install the same CCTV system specification at 40 more solar farms across the UK.