How Sabre PIDS Can Protect Solar PV Installations
31 January 2023
Rising energy costs across Europe are leading to a greater reliance on renewable power. Onshore, this typically means solar PV farms. The UK has over 460 installations, generating 11.6GW per year. As the UK, Europe and other parts of the world become reliant on solar PV as a way to generated cleaner and most cost-conscious energy, the number of installations will continue to rise.
Whilst solar PV farms have traditionally been in more remote areas, in recent years they have been developed on land closer to cities and towns. The Shotwick solar park in Flintshire North Wales, is close to the Deeside Industrial park, covers 250 acres and is one of the largest in the UK generating over 72MW per year. The majority of the energy generated at Shotwick is used to supply the local paper mill.
Solar PV farms must be secured from unauthorised entry in order to protect unwanted intruders and prevent theft. The copper in the cables between the solar panels represents a significant investment as do the solar PV panels and frames they stand on.
Solar PV Installation Fence Protection
A typical ground-mount solar PV installation can be protected from intrusion with a perimeter fence. The fence type is typically welded mesh or chain link. Whilst a fence will provide some protection, if it is not monitored for intrusions, the fence simply acts as a deterrent. This an ideal application for a fibre-optic based perimeter intrusion detection system (PIDS) such as Sabre.
Additional security enhancements can be provided by adding an access control system, such as EntroWatch, along with a CCTV system and targeted camera feeds.
What is Sabre II PIDS?
Sabre II is a fibre-optic based Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) that can be used t protect many forms of physical barrier including fences, gates, walls, roofing and cover buried applications. Sabre II can sense and alarm for attempts to climb, crawl or sever the fencing. The technology uses a continuously monitored and intrinsically safe, fibre-optic sensor cable which is sensitive to vibration, flexing and compression.
Sabre II is designed for use with Remsdaq’s proprietary fence-mounted (SabreFonic) cables. Disturbance of the fibre-optic sensor cable is detected in the Sabre II processor and analysed using a microcontroller with digital signal processor (DSP). When a disturbance exceeds pre-set conditions, an alarm will be generated. Automatic environmental compensation algorithms ensure the highest probability of detection whilst ensuring a minimum of nuisance alarms from natural causes.
Solar PV Fence Protection
The ideal fence length for Sabre II is 1kM for a single zone device or 2kM for dual zone system. Depending on the shape and style of the perimeter fence, and the degree of sensitivity required, single SabreFonic cable runs can be used for 2.5m high fences, with double cable runs up to 4m. De-sensitised cable is generally used to connect the monitoring station to the zone fence section and to bypass areas of the fence that do not require monitoring. For pedestrian gates and barriers, kits are available.
How Sabre II PIDS Works
The Sabre II processor module combines digital signal processing and environmental compensation algorithms to provide the highest levels of detection and discrimination whilst ensuring a minimum of nuisance alarms due to natural causes. It also offers reliable classification of events including cut and climb. Each Sabre II system has a relay interface as standard for remote monitoring. An optional BACnet interface is also available to provide IP connectivity.
Sabre II PIDS Configuration
Sabre II has an RS232 RJ-45 port for local configuration and communication. A Sabre configuration software tool is used by commissioning engineers to quickly and easily tune a SabreFonic installation locally from a PC. The software is simple and intuitive to use, offering a choice of languages, easy application settings, an integrated commissioning guide and visual indication when the peak signal exceeds configured thresholds.
EntroWatch BACnet Integration
Sabre II can be installed with a BACnet interface module to provide IP network connectivity for alarm monitoring via a BACnet master station, building management system or within EntroWatch access control software.
EntroWatch is a complete access control eco-system supplied by Remsdaq. As well as the access control software, the company supplies EntroPad card readers, keypads and contactless request to exit (RTE) buttons, 2-door and 8-door control units. The EntroWatch system provides a cost-effective access control solutions suitable for buildings and sites (including solar PV parks and farms) from 2 to 800 doors.
The Sabre BACnet module converts the Sabre controller RS-232/ RS-485 serial data into the BACnet protocol which can then be read over an IP network using Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat6a cables. The feature allows integration of Sabre alarms with EntroWatch. Within the EntroWatch Premium Edition (PE) version, Sabre zones can be named, used as triggers for Automatic Actions and shown in real time on Graphics (superimposed over site drawings or photographs) alongside surveillance video images from a local CCTV system.
The Sabre II and EntroWatch Site Security Solution
Remsdaq’s Sabre II perimeter intrusion detection and access control systems can be installed as standalone systems but together they provide a powerful and comprehensive security solution for any building or site. Coupled with camera feeds from a local CCTV system, EntroWatch and Sabre can provide a complete site overview, allowing an immediate response to any security incidents, including a fence intrusion.