The influx of outside investors seeking to maximize profits in an industry with freefalling panel prices, non-standard PPAs, and fluctuating O&M costs has given rise to the importance of Asset Performance Management (APM) in preserving owner ROI. Simply put, APM’s fundamental goal is to collect and analyze performance data and integrate this information into PV facility production to enhance both the long-term reliability and profitability of renewable facilities.
APM and O&M
And, here is how APM differs from O&M: O&M-centric companies historically have viewed facility management as an on-site, reactive task. APM moves beyond the kilowatts by focusing on maximizing efficiencies proactively at all levels throughout the facility’s entire lifecycle. This is done by capturing production data, utilizing predictive analytics, power modeling, and incorporating both pre-emptive and corrective on-site servicing that preserves the maximum uptime of the facility. When production alarms are triggered, diagnostics software and analytics are employed to review production information, assess performance issues, and pinpoint the origin(s) of the problem – problem(s) that might be hidden from an on-site inspection, or may be part of a chain of issues impacting plant performance.
APM is a balancing act: identifying and tracking anomalies, monitoring production issues, and tweaking system performance to ensure the facility is reliable over its lifecycle (i.e., longer uptime, more efficient, stronger ROI). To do this effectively, every aspect of the asset must be known and tracked and, there must be someone with the expertise and experience who understands how to analyze the data and recommend a permanent solution.
Early Decisions Will Impact Capacity and Value
APM also starts early in the development process, well before the plant has been spec’d cited and built. What most have overlooked is the critical impact that facility design, equipment selection, and lifecycle dynamics, during the early phases of a renewable project, have on its capacity. Until recently, the mantra of solar project developers and investors has been “low cost, low cost, low cost.” But developers, EPCs and plant owners must look at every facility with 20-year glasses. The quality of equipment, facility design, even soil composition can dictate the capability of a plant to meet its projected numbers year after year. Dollars shaved to minimize costs during the design and construction phase of a plant, will adversely impact future plant valuation due to lower production capacity and higher O&M costs over the life of the facility. Critical work must be performed upfront to ensure the plant design is not only sound, but also reflects the expected production for the life of the plant.
Best-in-class APM providers understand the 10, 20, 25-year implications of equipment quality, site design, construction techniques, and the adherence to – and verification of – minimum technical standards. Most importantly, an APM focused organization, when involved at the earliest stages, can keep the owner apprised of the financial impacts substantive changes or cost-cutting moves can have on plant lifecycle profitability.
In an era of declining profit margins and intensifying competition, APM has emerged as an important component to optimizing production and investor ROI, over the lifecycle of PV systems.
About Bay4 Energy
Since 1981, Bay4 Energy has been servicing projects and portfolios in a range of industries including technology leasing, equipment finance and renewable energy. Bay4 delivers real-time insights into how systems are operating, including downtime analysis and tracking of work orders and repairs. Bay4 Technical Services ensures that customer systems are optimized with expert O&M management, troubleshooting, and diagnostic capabilities to keep facilities producing at their peak.
Bay4’s SOC 2-compliant suite of asset management software provides the confidentiality and security required by customers to protect their data, from contract and cash management to key performance indicators and predictive analyses.