From the Solar-Log® WEB-4U Command Center
Solar-Log® WEB-4U experts provide monitoring as a service. That is to say, we help solar installers and O&M providers by performing routine monitoring checks to ensure that solar plants are running free and clear of errors. If a possible drop in power production is detected, then we analyze that event to pinpoint possible causes. Our job is to make the solar installer’s job easier and to protect the solar investment for plant owners.
In example 1, the solar installer was unaware that this plant was underperforming. Once the Solar-Log® WEB-4U team got involved we uncovered an issue that had been ongoing for 3 months. The team analyzed all of the plant data and determined that a suspected string outage was causing a loss of 375kWh. We notified the O&M provider so that the issue could be fixed to resume optimal power production at the plant.
The Solar-Log® WEB-4U team helped this next customer when they discovered that 1 of the 4 inverters was not meeting the rated output. In addition to the slight underperformance, we also observed a shading impact that was occurring in the morning hours through mid-day. The shading was causing a loss of approximately 5-6kWh daily.
Once the Solar-Log® WEB-4U team detects and issue and possible causes, we immediately notify the O&M provider. It is possible that when the plant in example 2 was designed the installer was aware of the impact that the shading would have. It is also possible that this is a design flaw that cannot be changed. However, it is also possible that the shading impact is new and only caused by a nearby tree. A simple tree-trimming may be the answer to getting this plant up and running at optimal performance again.
The Solar-Log® WEB-4U team not only checks for performance issues but also for configuration issues. By ensuring that the plant is correctly configured in the portal it reduces the number of false alarms and alerts sent by the monitoring platform. In example 3, a higher AC power was observed when compared to the DC power. There would be several reasons for this but firmware or configuration could be possible causes. Configuration issues can often be resolved remotely, eliminating the need for a truck roll.
According to a recent article in GTM research, although a significant portion of solar PV projects currently have a monitoring system in place, few are synced in real time with diagnostics tools. Even fewer conduct basic periodical performance assessments. Plants might have a basic monitoring platform in place but many factors can cause plant underperformance. Detailed performance insight inclusive of all onsite components can make the difference between making money and losing it. The Solar-Log® WEB-4U team was created to help bridge the gap between basic-level monitoring and professional monitoring services.