PV Diesel Hybrid Systems – 3 Designs

SMA PV Diesel Hybrid

With SMA’s Fuel Save Solution for large industrial applications, PV can be easily and efficiently integrated into diesel grids. The Sunny Tripower and Sunny Central inverters convert the direct current from PV modules into alternating current and feed it into power supply systems. The SMA Fuel Save Controller manages PV feed-in and the diesel genset remains unaffected. The result: An achievement up to 60 percent of PV capacity compared to installed genset capacity.

In the following we present the three common system designs of the SMA Fuel Save Solution.


Grid or Genset1.     Grid and PV connected hybrid system including a genset backup supply: Cotton Mill, Palladam, India

Daily power outages lasting several hours are commonplace in India’s federal state Tamil Nadu. For this reason, the cotton mill Alpine Knits located in Palladam, had been using diesel gensets to ensure a reliable power supply for their production site – and simply accepted the exorbitant operation expenses resulting from the fuel consumption of the gensets. To reduce their energy bill, the cotton mill operators decided to invest in a PV diesel hybrid system with the photovoltaic system placed on the rooftop of the factory workshop. Since June 2012 the SMA Fuel Save Solution ensures reliable operation even when the grid fails. As the intelligent interface between PV system and diesel gensets, the Fuel Save Controller ensures a highly available and efficient power supply. During peak production hours, the PV system provides approximately 60 percent of the total power demand of the mill – regardless of utility grid availability.


2. Grid and PV connected hybrid system including a genset main supply: Mine, Thabazimbi, South Africa

Thabazimbi is a sparsely populated region in the South African province of Limpopo characterized by mines. The power distribution grid is far away, grid connection is limited, and transport of diesel fuel is expensive. With a high amount of solar irradiation, the region is ideally suited for the use of PV energy. Since November 2012, a PV system with a power of one megawatt has complemented the existing diesel energy main supply at a chrome ore mine. As the key component of the SMA Fuel Save Solution the SMA Fuel Save Controller manages the PV feed-in and ensures the controlling of the solar and diesel generators according to load and generation profiles.


Remote Hybrid/genset as backup 3. Remote hybrid system with a genset backup supply: Island Electrification, Vava’u, Tonga

The Tongan island chain Vava’u is now profiting from its perfect solar conditions with more than 1,500 hours of sunshine annually. A photovoltaic diesel hybrid system with the SMA Fuel Save Solution went into operation in Vava’u in November 2013 with the goal of saving diesel fuel and thereby minimizing costs and CO2 emissions. The 500 kW hybrid PV farm with 1,680 PV modules and 21 SMA Sunny Tripowers was fully integrated into the existing diesel network and provides almost 70 percent of Vava’u’s energy demands at noon.


  1. kacem cherifi
    kacem cherifi says:

    Dear SMA
    An industry company located in the middle of desert in Algeria is using 4 Genset of 800 kVA/400V , and they are looking for a solution to secure the energy source, I have proposed PV Diesel Hybrid System to them, I came across your SMA website and I found you already have experince in this solution, I tied to fill out the questionnaire, but unfortinatelly i could not find it.
    Please I need your assistence for this project
    Looking forward to hearing from you


    • Christiane Keim
      Christiane Keim says:

      Hello Kacem,

      Thanks for your inquiry.
      Our Sales team will get back to you asap.

      In case you need any further assistance, please let us know.

      Sunny regards

  2. r kapur
    r kapur says:

    16 SMA 25000, coupled to feed 8 grid connections of 44 kW each totalling 350 kW.. Generator runs whenever grid cuts … How do we ensure our solar production supplements the generator ??

    • Anke Baars
      Anke Baars says:

      You can use the SMA Fuel Save Controller (FSC) to allow always stable operation of the genset(s) – (reverse power, spinning reserve, minimum load and power factor). In systems with a PV penetration <20% you need normally an external controller like FSC. It monitors the whole system and regulates the PV power if necessary.
      If you need help to design a Fuel Save Solution, just have a look.
      Hope, that helps.
      Best regards, Anke

    • Jennifer Rößler
      Jennifer Rößler says:

      Dear Hussein,
      please write us an e-mail at SocialMedia@SMA.de and tell us where you come from. We will then forward your request to our sales department in charge for you.
      Kind regards, Jennifer

    • Christian Höhle
      Christian Höhle says:

      Dear Peter,

      technically our Fuel Save Controller can be used in the smallest installations starting with one single solar inverter (10kW). Economically, sites with more than 100kW of solar power are increasingly profitable.

      If you are interested, please have a look at this article:
      From Idea To Real Hybrid System – How To Start?

      Sunny regards,

    • Christian Höhle
      Christian Höhle says:

      Dear Shabbi,

      great to hear about your interest in our Fuel Save Solution!
      You can use our Fuel Save Solution – Info Package as a launch point of your readings. In this link, you can find links to many articles that describe the technology as well as examples of Fuel Save Solutions in operation.

      If your plans get more concrete, please fill this questionnaire, send it to FuelSaveSolution@sma.de and we will do our best to help you plan your project.

      Sunny regards,

  3. jayesh vekaria
    jayesh vekaria says:


    We have a Fuel save controller which control power from Grid / 34 nos STP 25000 inverter and a 2 Mw gen-set.

    We want to know if we could convert the system to island

    Please do let us know if you require further information.


    • Christian Höhle
      Christian Höhle says:

      Hi Jayesh,

      of course your system can operate in island mode, too. As soon as the grid is disconnected and the genset takes over, solar inverters can feed into the genset grid.

      This should work in the current system configuration. If not, please let me know so that my sunbelt colleagues who configured the plant can have a look at it.

      Sunny regards,

  4. Paul Benton
    Paul Benton says:

    Like the Tongan island, we have 1792 panels and 23 sunny tripower inverters running with diesel generation. How can I get information on the fuel save controller?

      • Joseph Ajayi
        Joseph Ajayi says:

        Hi Christian,
        I browsed through your website and developed interest in your Fuel Save Solution, especially on the PV Diesel –Hybrid system. With this in mind, I would appreciate it if you would kindly confirm a convenient time to discuss with you on your business lines(+4956195223199 or any other line you have) in order to know the way forward.

        Anticipating your response.

        Best Regards

        Joseph Ajayi

      • Christian Höhle
        Christian Höhle says:

        Dear Joseph,

        I am so sorry for the delay. Your post went into the Spam folder and was recovered from there just today.

        Here you find a questionnaire: Link
        Please fill this questionnaire and send it to FuelSaveSolution@sma.de.

        With this data, we are able to understand your application and we can set up a call with the persons that can help you best in proceeding towards your own solar-diesel-hybrid system.

        Sunny regards,

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