Solar plant monitoring is not only a valuable tool for O&M providers, installers, and plant owners. It can also be a valuable tool for other stakeholders as well. Monitoring a solar plant is the most reliable way to protect against long-term power loss, ensuring a solid rate of return from the solar plant. Professional solar plant monitoring can also provide credible financial guarantees for investors. Here are 4 ways that financers, investors, and insurance companies can use solar plant monitoring to protect their solar investment.
1. Evaluate and Quantify Risk
Stakeholders can evaluate the potential risk and return of a solar array by analyzing regional solar plant performance trends. The potential power output can be estimated by comparing local solar plant performance data. Knowing what the potential output will be can lower the perceived risk of the solar investment and in turn, reduce insurance premiums. It can also be used to backup proposed performance guarantees. Regional performance analysis can be done through a few different methods:
Plant clustering is a way of estimating how much power a solar plant should produce by comparing the production to other solar plants in the area. By benchmarking solar plant performance, you can estimate the power potential and also determine if there may be issues at a specific location.
Performance benchmarking can also be done through integrated satellite weather data which is used to determine local irradiance. A forecast of the expected yield can be created by analyzing this data for a specific location.
2. Evaluate Overall Solar Plant Health and Quality of the Investment
Solar-Log’s integrated ticketing system creates a continuous log of all service calls at a particular location. Each time a performance error occurs, that error can be documented and service technicians can keep plant owners and investors informed about solar plant issues and repairs. Reports can easily be provided to all stakeholders to show service history, including regular maintenance logs.
3. Calculate Realized Loss, if Needed
Professional solar plant monitoring provides high-quality, long-term data over the lifetime of the plant. In the case of an insurance claim or major damage to a plant, this historical data can be used to estimate how much power was lost during the plant downtime. The financial loss can be estimated by applying the cost of electricity to the estimated kWh loss.
Solar-Log® products are certified to high standards. ANSI certified meters record solar yield with an uncertainty of less than +/-0.2%. This certification is widely favored by incentive reporting agencies and PPAs. The data recorded by these revenue grade meters is especially useful in providing reliable data to calculate the potential loss.
4. Fleet and Risk Management
O&M providers can create fleets within the Solar-Log® software to monitor one single customer’s assets. This customizable grouping streamlines the monitoring process and saves the stakeholder money. For example, if a solar O&M provider is managing multiple plants for a specific financing company, they can group those plants and monitor them together. It takes less time to monitor plants when they are organized on one platform instead of spread across many.
Real-time error detection and automatic alerts minimize solar plant downtime. When solar plant issues are detected immediately, they can be addressed quickly. The the plant is back up and running correctly, in less time. More uptime means more power generation and a higher return on the investment.