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Centralized Monitoring Solutions: Cost-Reductions, Reliability and The Future Of Solar Operations In India

The solar operations in India are at their nascent stage is a well-known fact. As we begin to grow in a young industry and learn more about increasing the operational efficiency of solar plants, there’s one pertinent question that arises. How do we maintain and monitor plant function over several decades of the project’s lifetime?

While the obvious solution is to deploy manpower continuously, this option can be both expensive and ineffective. This is where Centralized Monitoring Solutions (CMS) step in. A CMS can consolidate data from different assets such as grid connected systems and rooftop solutions into a single dashboard. People accessing the system can monitor the asset’s performance in real-time, plan for maintenance and solve problems as they arise.

The Benefits of Using A Centralized Monitoring System

At Statkraft BLP, we manage a diverse array of solar assets for our clients. Having a good CMS enables us to sort and sift through the immense amounts of data sent in by operational plants. Using this data, crucial decisions on plant operation, increasing efficiency and scheduling maintenance with minimal losses can be taken. In general, a CMS offers a host of benefits to all stakeholders:

  • A CMS enables remote monitoring of solar assets. As a result, fewer people need to be deployed on-site to study and report on the asset’s functioning.
  • Systematic data collection and storage can create databases which are mines of important data about the asset. Proper structured storage facilities can in turn help in faster retrieval of data. Actual performance data and weather data from different solar installations can bring huge competitive advantage when new projects are being developed.
  • Integration of renewable energy into the grid is always a challenge, mainly due to the uncertainty in generation pattern. Proper leveraging of the available data and application of advanced data science help in reducing these uncertainties. Using data about prevalent weather conditions, historical data from the plant, weather forecast and real time inputs, the output becomes a reliable science.
  • Using IoT and machine learning, it is possible to predict asset performance, study areas for improvement and prevent repeat errors. Hence this approach of predictive analytics helps reduce the number of negative incidences that affect asset performance. It enables a remote monitoring team to identify the opportunity to squeeze the extra juice out of an operating asset.

The Client Connect

Statkraft BLP has always believed in using every new opportunity to improve transparency in operations and keep clients well-informed of their assets’ performance. Hence, at SBSS, we hope to use remote monitoring solutions not only for improving the efficiency of our asset management team but also for empowering our clients. Access to the monitoring platform using a mobile application or an adaptive web link can help keep all stakeholders in the decision-making loop. Timely updates ensure that they are aware of repairs and maintenance work taken up and any consequent improvement /losses in output.

Advanced monitoring solutions help improve the asset’s performance, prevent most breakdowns, reduce the response time when a situation arises and give clients a holistic view of their asset’s performance.

Measuring The Return On Investment

Typically, a CMS availed in the SaaS format, and for larger/ more diverse assets, can be purchased and implemented in-house. The initial investment and recurring cost depend on the size and complexity of the portfolio. The ROI for installing a CMS can be measured based on the following parameters:

  • The manpower reduction offered as a result of using a CMS
  • A reduction in response times, and thus the revenue lost due to downtime
  • Preventive maintenance that further reduces downtime and instances of lost revenue
  • Accuracy in output predictions offered through predictive analytics- this helps asset owners plan for fluctuations
  • Cost reduction on internalization of services such as forecasting and scheduling of power generation