With respect to William Shakespeare, to roll or not to roll (a truck), that is the question for solar O&M and asset managers when an alarm lights on a computer monitor. It’s a complicated decision with many factors, especially cost, but the situation can become even more problematic when a solar project’s software, site sensor, or alarm system is not working properly.
The proper testing and the proper calibration of solar project sensors are just two of the important topics that we will be speaking about at the Solar Power Asset Management & Performance conference in San Diego on Thursday, January 19, at a lunch and learn presentation starting at noon.
Here’s a short preview of our discussion.
“The Importance of Accurate Communications and Integrated Data Acquisition in Ensuring System Optimization in Solar O&M” focuses on the need for solar O&M managers to have commercial and utility solar projects equipped with reliable, tested, and up-to-date communications and data acquisition system infrastructure.
When onboarding a solar power plant into an O&M portfolio, one of our top priorities is to confirm that the site’s sensors, communications software, and hardware are working optimally. When a project is put into Bay4’s hands, we inspect all sensors to make sure they’re correctly calibrated, and verify that every system alarm and alert is properly set and tested. It’s also essential to validate the accuracy of the solar production model.
Sure, it’s a lot of work that requires a lot of documentation and testing. However, if we do not perform our communications and data system due diligence early on, the solar asset owner may see less-than-satisfactory plant performance or needlessly pay for expensive reactive O&M actions, reducing financial returns.
Most issues that cause downtime at a solar plant can be identified and partially diagnosed through the use of an integrated supervisory control and data acquisition system (SCADA). The past few years have seen a revolution in solar production data and communications technologies, and we recommend that every solar project owner takes advantage of these technical advances.
Many inverters and other major facility components can be remotely accessed to identify which alerts or alarms are causing issues. Having the capability to reset the components in question from a control center or smartphone app can often prevent a costly site visit that could result in days of lost production.
While accurate data is critical, it is the smart integration of all data streams that truly enhances the reliability and optimization of solar facilities. Advanced software and information visualization reveal subtle data deviations that can help uncover performance issues and pinpoint potential problems that might be hidden from physical inspections.
This week in San Diego, William Richardson will be sharing case study examples where solar PV system performance was optimized through a robust communications infrastructure that was integrated as part of a comprehensive O&M/asset management software and DAS platform.
He will also talk about new trends that Bay4 is seeing in solar O&M data acquisition and monitoring. We are excited about several promising innovations, such as improved real-time control and forecasting, remote fault diagnostic and reset capabilities, remote RMA generation, software automation, and new prognostic and predictive tools.
We hope to see you at the conference. But if you won’t be able to make it, these and other topics will be discussed in future posts on the APM Chronicle, so please bookmark this page, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
Bay4 Technical Services, LLC