Traditionally, growth means adding resources at the same pace that you are adding revenue. Scale, on the other hand, is about rapidly growing revenue while incrementally adding resources. The world’s leading scaled businesses all have the same thing in common; they have become experts in adding more customers and projects while adding fewer resources to successfully manage them. This allows them to grow both revenue and margin simultaneously without sacrifice to performance, service levels or customer satisfaction.
With the constant pressure to contain costs, management teams across the renewable industry are all looking to avoid linear personnel growth in the Operations Center. For that reason, systems become extremely important in helping to maintain efficiency. Having an enterprise DAS system that pulls the attention of an operator only to where they need to look can save hours of time each week. It allows each individual to become more effective and efficient. It also enables the entire organization to transform from reactive to proactive, arming them with rapid actionable insights to better understand, predict and address root causes to drive continuous improvements in performance, operational efficiency and profitability.
Alarms and KPI dashboards can provide actionable insights into array performance, but only if monitoring software is thoroughly configured to reflect the unique conditions at each site.
- Underperformance or failure at the string or zone level may be undetectable in the aggregated production values of a large plant,
so granular DC monitoring is necessary to identify and locate these issues; this generates hundreds or thousands of data points
for a monitoring system that must all be correctly mapped in the software
- Highly accurate benchmark production values enable operators to detect a wider range of avoidable losses; to set accurate
benchmarks, performance models must account for a huge variety of factors including site location, specs for panels and
inverters, and other as-built factors that may influence array performance, such as trackers, unavoidable shading, etc.
- To get accurate weather-based adjustments, software must accurately reflect environmental sensor calibrations, and must be
capable to produce the complex calculations in real time
To address these challenges, monitoring solutions must succeed on two levels. First, monitoring software must have a flexible and extensible architecture, along with complete and mature feature sets for PV performance analysis. Second, expertise and bandwidth for critical activities like device mapping, performance modeling, and other critical configurations is essential. The importance of expert configuration cannot be overstated. It is often the difference between achieving your performance targets or not.
Together, flexible architecture and thorough configurations enable far more powerful monitoring software functionality:
- Precise real-time calculations for actual vs expected yields
- Smart alarms and alarm management for better ratio of actionable vs false positive alarms
- Diagnostics for effective remote troubleshooting
These powerful tools make a key difference in the Operations Center environment, enabling system operators to manage by exception and reducing the time the maintenance team spends on site.
Getting configurations right in monitoring software is a collaborative effort between monitoring providers, system designers, and software users. The process can be complicated by the post-commissioning handoff between an EPC, who may have engaged the monitoring solution, and the owner, whose teams will work with the monitoring software. Owners who are accepting a monitoring solution as part of a project handoff from an EPC should talk to the monitoring provider to understand how far these critical configurations have been completed in the software.
With over 13 years of system configuration experience across many of the world’s most sophisticated and highest performing projects, AlsoEnergy’s Professional Services team is your expert partner for successful configurations, commissioning, and project support.