Improving solar analytics, condition and performance monitoring across fields and sites.
Most solar panel operation and maintenance processes require periodic checks to ensure optimal performance and security. The frequency and degree of solar array monitoring and solar panel maintenance are reliant on the installation type, system configuration and location of the commercial solar power system in use. With so many variables, establishing an efficient, optimized way of achieving this across multiple sites is challenging.
An all-in-one real-time solar operation center and issue management tool
An advanced real-time monitoring, predictive analytics and alerting system was needed to continually determine if PV unit are operating and generating energy as expected.
To meet the needs of the customer, we created a bespoke proprietary Solar Analytics, Condition and Performance Monitoring IoT solution that could provide predictive analytics and an alert system application, via a solar command center, that can monitor and check the status of the PV performance based on the data collected from the inverter and 4G energy meters.
In addition, the system was configured to issue additional alerts, such as when energy production is below or above required targets, to further enhance utilization. This advanced capability with additional machine learning capability helps manage the PV assets and performance to ensure maximum energy production with minimum maintenance. The wide range of PV site O&M services includes preventive maintenance, performance management and analytics, data management services and more.
Defining what data to collect is critical
In order to create the Solar Analytics, Condition and Performance Monitoring IoT solution, we started by identifying the key metrics that were needed in on-order to achieve the business goals. In this solution, this included:
- PV energy
- Daily energy produced vs. consumed
- Power generation
- Energy production
- Aggregated PV power
- Site size
- Energy cost
- Weather data
- Inverter performance
Initial goals of the solution
The first goals of the Solar Analytics, Condition and Performance Monitoring IoT solution was to focus on connecting to the HV meter, Inverter LV devices and energy meter to our IoT platform, ensuring that data was being collected in a consistent and reliable manner. To guarantee data quality and integrity, we added the following features:
- Monitoring of critical operational data received from the equipment via a web-based system
- Put in place device management monitoring for the sensors
- Define business logic to the application in-order to meet the business objectives
- Provide alarm and alert notifications via email and/or SMS messages
- Start collecting enough historical data to add the ability to start testing different logic and diagnose anomalies
- Provide the right dashboard to the right user with the right insights
- Test the application, making sure all of the above goals are met, based on the below solution architecture.
Before go-live, we tested four critical aspects of the Solar Analytics, Condition and Performance Monitoring IoT solution:
The Rayven platform is built with security as a top priority. Rayven’s proprietary security architecture ensures data is secure at all points of the IOT environment. The solution includes Data encryption in transit. Data is encrypted from device to cloud (device-dependent), Devices are authenticated using device keys (device-dependent) and 256-bit SSL encryption is used between end-user devices
A Modbus Wattwatchers energy meter, which also has 4G gateway capability built-in, proved to be the best solution. It requires a one-time small investment and then no costs to maintain the connection, other than the monthly 4G data sim fee. The combination of a secure and encrypted transmission path together with a dedicated, direct connection meant a fast, secure and non-invasive connection without needing to involve IT.
Your Solar Analytics, Condition and Performance Monitoring IoT solution is only as good and reliable as the data you collect, so making sure that you’re getting continuous, reliable connectivity is critical in providing a tool that always has up-to-date data that you can rely on it to make critical business decisions in real-time. To ensure this, it was critical for us to test that the data we were seeing from the solar panels matched 100% to what we were seeing in the dashboards and to build in ‘data back fill in sequence’ capability, so that in the event that communication ever went down, the missing data could be back-filled from the edge.
Industrial Data Science
The objective of exploratory data analysis was to observe trends in the data and compare them to what was happening in the field, which included:
- Forecasting energy production vs. consumption
- Energy production anomaly detection
- Energy guarantee percentage
We are already working to further improve our capability to identify minor issues or anomalies in output, so that corrections can be made before they become serious problems requiring an unplanned interruption in energy production.
Data sources used to deliver the Solar Analytics, Condition and Performance Monitoring IoT solution
New and existing data was used to create the custom applications and business insights.
Key features of our Solar Analytics, Condition and Performance Monitoring IoT solution
All of these features were customized to fit the customers specific business objectives of our customer, but can be modified to fit your needs.
Predictive solar analytics
Monitor in real-time, predict energy generation and energy consumption, plus spot and solve problems before they happen.
Alarms and alerts
Receive immediate SMS and email alerts for energy alarms, performance warnings or when any metric crosses your preset predefined thresholds.
Even if a device can’t connect due to network issues, you can rely on the automated back-fill to retrieve device history and fill the gaps in the historical data set.
Ensure that there is a process in place to have the right people respond based on agreed protocols.
Identify when there is energy production degradation, when system checks fail, or when there are anomalies in the behaviour of your assets and take proactive action.
Create custom dashboards and reports, scheduling them to be sent to any specific user or user group as or when required.
Our Solar Analytics, Condition and Performance Monitoring IoT solution drives real business outcomes
Lower cost of maintenance
With centralized, continuous real-time monitoring, you can avoid the need to visit sites to monitor critical performance metrics and alerts and proactively maintain your PV’s.
Centralized, continuous real-time monitoring allows you to proactively repair and maintain equipment, improving uptime and customer service.
Increased energy production
As predictive maintenance results in less downtime, and increased uptime, you are guaranteed a higher and more predictable energy production.
Predictive analytics enables better predictability across all aspects of your business, from energy production, asset performance and overall revenue.
Fewer maintenance calls
The solutions means fewer unnecessary visits and ensures that the root cause of problems are addressed, reducing errors and additional call-outs.
Better resource utilization
Send crews to the right place, at the right time, with all the parts that they need to do an already understood job right the first time.
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Pricing & plans
Simple, fair pricing that scales with your business model.
Rayven integrates with any asset, device or system.
Create custom solutions in weeks, not months.
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