THE FONROCHE GROUP
The Fonroche group primarily uses software archelios Calc* (previously solar calc™) in the calculations of cables sections of their projects.
Fonroche Energy has grown substantially since its inception in 2008. This group is versatile and active in multiple sectors related to renewable energies (PV, biogas, geothermal). Regarding PV plants, Fonroche supports all phases of the project (from panel manufacturing to installation, production and the design of production plants of several megawatts). Fonroche group consists of several entities such as:
• Fonroche Investment (energy production in their own name)
• Fonroche Industries (PV module manufacturing)
• Fonroche Renewable Energy (sales, installation and maintenance of PV plants)
• Habitat Solar (roof PVs sales for individuals)
• Fonroche Electricity (design, sizing and electrical connections of PV plants)
The Fonroche Electricity entity, a recent one, is responsible for the design and maintenance of photovoltaic systems. It brings together people from the panels production plant located near Agen, the different stakeholders (consultants, architects, …) and subcontractors. Outsourced to partners until recently, cables sizing for installations is now being done by an internal team of 5 people. Acquired in 2010, solar calc™ is becoming an important tool among their subcontractors and other entities of the group are encouraged to take it up.
«It is very easy to convince them, I need to explain how I use this software and its ease of handling. After half an hour spent in addressing the main points and advising them thereafter for a short week, they become autonomous», says Laurent Gautier, head of research department Fonroche Electricity.
But the most important thing above all is the peace of mind provided by the software solar calc™ in complying with regulatory reports: «The fact that the results by solar calc™ are accepted at control offices, at any point, gives us the certainty of successful completion of the installation in compliance with the C15 712-1 standard,» affirms Gauthier.«I’ve already checked the veracity of the solar calc™ calculations which are also apprehended by other inspection offices. Elements overlap and I am sure about the obtained results.»
Other elements play in favor of solar calc™, in particular profitability. «With the cables library, I can make a comparison between the copper wires and the aluminum – qualitatively and quantitatively – and I can make precise costing figures,»says Gauthier. «The facilities are designed in two phases: a design phase for drawings at the engineering services and a phase for implementation and consistency checks. solar calc™ is very sophisticated software that checks for a maximum of 1% voltage drop, it allows us to verify the coherent choice of cable sections. Not to mention the fact that solar calc™ handles the complete link from the DC (direct current) to the AC (alternating current) for projects <250kVA, which provides undeniable added value.»
Gautier concludes: «The software is very user friendly, easy to understand, abnormalities are quickly pointed out. This tool facilitates trade with sub-contractors: they ask me for advice and as exchange of information, is facilitated, the (projects) changes are too.» As for Trace Software service is concerned, it is considered very professional «responses were given to my questions, their technical team is very efficient in terms of reactivity, for software updates and product evolutions.»