Satya Kumar @Shri Shakti Alternative Energy Ltd

Blogs with thought leadership, analysis of policy and regulations, business opportunities. Leading innovation in solar and clean energy.

Solar 'Big Data' Analytics isn't just fancy jargon but is a 'Competitive Necessity' now

Is your solar PV data providing actionable knowledge to ensure solar profits? How are the different aspects of your portfolio management such as operations, performance monitoring, maintenance and asset management being served by data analytics?

Solar 'Big Data' Analytics isn't just fancy jargon but is a 'Competitive Necessity' now. Big data in the form of solar radiation data sets, weather station data, data from google earth, historical generation data from solar plants in the vicinity are used to decide what the system should be before the new installation occurs i.e before anyone even goes to the site and this is now fairly common. This wide range of data is used by solar PV designers and financial analysts to simulate the generation, estimate the capex and opex costs and carry out the financial modeling to bid a competitive tariff to secure the PPA in India which has set a target of 100GW solar by 2022 and the current project pipeline is nearly 15GW.

An officer in a Electricity Regulatory Commission recently asked me as to how the developers are able offer such low tariffs and make money. A few questions and quick analysis revealed that the annual O&M cost assumed as a 'tariff parameter' while determining the tariff by the Commission was double of what was common practice in operating solar plants leading to over INR 0.50 higher tariff in the calculations by the Commission.

In conventional thermal power plants, fuel costs are a major part of O&M cost and manpower costs are insignificant. Whereas, in solar PV plants the fuel cost is NIL and manpower cost are a major component of the O&M budget. The graph below indicates nearly 39% as the manpower cost for an operating 20MW solar plant in Rajasthan. The supervision work, manual monitoring and performance analysis work can and should be automated in solar plant operations to reduce the O&M costs.

Sophisticated performance monitoring, O&M, Service Management and Asset Management are real cutting edge now in Solar PV plant operations. Algorithms based on established knowledge of panel performance, weather data and energy data are required for monitoring of performance and actual troubleshooting of problems with systems. Additionally, ERP software combines performance monitoring, O&M, service management and asset management into one efficient tool. ACTIS (Asset Control Telemetry Information System) is the world's first solar ERP software available on the cloud against subscription making highly cost effective and efficient tool for plant operations, MIS and financial reporting.

"OPEX reduction and reliability improvements of solar PV plants requires the use of sophisticated IT platforms" says Vassilis Papaeconomou, Founder and MD of Alectris, Greece. The aspects of solar PV OPEX cost reduction which can be addressed effectively with a more holistic approach to data generation and reporting include:

- Spare parts management

- Preventative maintenance labour

- Corrective maintenance labour

- Software Costs (Monitoring & Management platforms)

- Asset Management cost and/or internal overheads

The promise of effective management through Solar ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Systems is realized because the Solar ERP integrates all the monitoring, operational data and asset management requirements of a plant or portfolio into a seamless suite of actionable intelligence. Alectris launched the world's first Solar ERP, ACTIS, in 2013. This platform has gone on to win the "Facilities Management" award in Europe.

ACTIS is now available in India through Shri Shakti Alternative Energy Ltd. For more details contact Priyaranjan Sinha 98114 56950 or email 

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Monday, 22 April 2024

Shri Shakti Alternative Energy Ltd (SSAEL), is a part of the Shri Shakti Group, Hyderabad, with over a decade of experience in the field of Clean energy, Consulting and Solar Project Development.

SSAEL has executed projects for World Bank, UNIDO, GVEP, kfW, IREDA and were Consultants to RERC.

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