Sun Shines Brightly on AISG’s Solar Power Plant Project

American Integrated Security Group installed state-of-the-art security equipment at NRG Energy’s California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR), earning the firm SSI‘s Integrated Installation of the Year runner-up notice.

Giving customers the latest smart energy solutions, NRG Energy Inc. believes its California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) not only generates clean energy but does so in the most environmentally friendly manner. However, this expansive location where the world’s largest operating photovoltaic solar power plant resides is often unattended, causing concern it could be a target for theft or terrorism.

Just as NRG Energy is at the forefront of changing how people think about and use energy, American Integrated Security Group (AISG) operates on the leading edge of innovative and integrated security systems. Founded in 2007 with headquarters in College Point, N.J., and four satellite offices, AISG put its full-service expertise to use designing a solution for eastern San Luis Obispo County’s CVSR to secure critical infrastructure, deter theft and limit disruption of power.

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The finished results earned the integrator runner-up status as SSI‘s Integrated Installation of the Year. The project involved installing fiber optics for vibration sensing on 19 miles of fence, state-of-the-art equipment in which different manufacturers’ products are fully integrated to ‘talk’ to each other and where alarms are routed back to AISG’s monitoring center for alarm response and health checks.

Meeting Environmental and Wildlife Challenges

CVSR’s 10 solar PV arrays, substation and facility buildings are confined to a footprint of just 1,500 acres. The remaining 3,200 acres – about 70% of the site – are permanently preserved and managed to meet conservation objectives for a range of species. CVSR also includes a plan for protecting and conserving more than 12,000 acres of land in and around the facility.

Working with experts to design the solar farm’s layout around the critical habitats to allow animal migrations, NRG installed fencing surrounding the perimeter and an alternate wildlife corridor designed to minimize visual, grading and species impact. NRG called on AISG to secure the perimeter, a challenge calling for covering several miles of fencing with fiber and putting the necessary infrastructure in place to maximize security.

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The integrator’s wealth of experience in the energy vertical strongly influenced the company landing the business. AISG engineers and designers are well versed in the various federal and state regulations that accompany solar energy projects, and also adept in choosing the most environmentally sound and efficient solutions.

Solution Includes Thermal, Fiber and Analytics

To provide CVSR and its solar power customers with the utmost assurance that their site is being protected at all times, AISG deployed a powerful solution including analytics, video storage and management, thermal surveillance cameras, access control and intercom, perimeter alarms and 24/7 surveillance monitoring.

AISG had to cover the expansive site with as little hardware and infrastructure as possible, keeping in mind the impact on the environment. This meant integrating both the security and surrounding environment in a sustainable manner. The installer also had to create customized power and communication for the poles/cameras.

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System components included: 11 FLIR thermal cameras mounted on solar-powered aluminum poles; Pelco matrix and alarm receiver/keyboard; WavestoreUSA video storage and management system; Fiber SenSys fiber with seven alarm processing units (APU) and seven relay modules; Corning fiber connections; Alpha Micro Secure environmental UPS backups for the poles; Tripp Lite interactive sine wave UPS for the head end; Kantech access control for the gates with Aiphone IP intercoms for communication; and Davantis video analytics.

System Proves to Be a Sensing Sensation

Here’s how the system works: A vibration sensed at any point in the 19 miles of fiber sends a signal to two systems. Using video analytics technology, the signal goes though the APU, which in turn through the matrix sends a signal to the preprogrammed pan/tilt thermal camera to move its field of view onto the affected alarmed zone. If something is detected in that area, an alarm will be sent to AISG’s central monitoring station where an operator will determine the alarm type. In the case of intrusion, people on the contact list will be called.

The utility’s stakeholders say they find the overlapping technologies extremely useful in both function and peace of mind.

 

About the Author

Contact:

Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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