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C3 secures place in the sun

In December 2012, power and automation technology group ABB won the order to supply a turnkey PV power plant to the Soutpan Solar Park project in Polokwane, which included design, engineering, installation and commissioning.

The park would generate 31 MW and would be among the first utility scale photovoltaic power plants to be built in phase one of the government’s long-term renewable energy programme, which aimed to reduce pollution and diversify South Africa’s energy mix. C3 Shared Services, specialists in the design and implementation of intelligent video, fire and perimeter security solutions, was commissioned to design and install an intelligent video-based surveillance system to protect the power plant from theft of valuable capital equipment.

Based on a long-standing relationship with C3 Shared Services, ABB requested the company to implement a perimeter security and intrusion detection solution centred on the initial design that was done in Spain. The perimeter security solution needed to have best of breed technology within the project’s budget and timeframe. 

With the exception of the planting of the perimeter fence poles, C3 undertook the entire security programme implementation. “We were selected because of our previous extensive experience on intrusion detection systems and our ability to work according to stringent client specifications,” says Carl Reed, project manager for the project.

The project started with a comprehensive site inspection and evaluation, including a complete assessment of all risks, which was followed by a revised design process in collaboration with ABB.

The perimeter is 4.5 km in extent and situated in a rural area so the C3 team decided to deploy advanced outdoor infrared detectors and 69 ioimage static perimeter surveillance cameras using military grade video analytics for the detection of human targets.

“We have integrated the entire system to provide a double knock effect that will ensure no persons will be able to pass through the perimeter without being detected. The combination of best-of-breed technologies resulted in having an exceptionally high probability of detection and a very low false alarm rate,” says Reed.

Reed goes on to say that: “Quality project management was key to the success of this large project. Regular site meetings, combined with project meetings both on site and at C3’s head office brought together all stakeholders for a complete collaborative effort”.

Reed advises potential clients to consider a security solution that is scalable, upgradeable and sustainable. He also cautions businesses to visit similar sites to determine suitability and to employ a company that has the flexibility to design a customised solution according to specific project needs and client user requirements.

The project began in December 2013 and was successfully handed over to ABB at the end of July 2014. “The feedback from ABB is that the implementation quality and the system performance have exceeded their expectations. The C3 perimeter security solution will provide the solar power plant with the highest levels of security needed to protect the plant against external threats for the foreseeable future,” says Reed.


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