This special interest group is for professionals to connect and discuss all types of carbon-free power alternatives, including nuclear, renewable, tidal and more.

WARNING: SIGN-IN

You need to be a member of Energy Central to access some features and content. Please or register to continue.

Question

If Solar PV Plant owners can share their generation data , it might be very beneficial for other plant owners to compare / validate their plant performance. Are there such platforms in the world that enables sharing of PV generation data ?

Answers

Hi Somashekar,

What I do here in Brazil is quite simple. Actually the insolation varies from place to place but for calculation purposes these variations are not really important.

Just to give you an example:  Here in Brazil, though it is a huge country (among the biggest in the world with around 8 Million square kilometers) I use the 20% efficiency reference.It means that for each installed kW of PV plant the power production is 20% x 730 h/month which is about 150 kWh/month.

Wherever you are evaluating PV projects you may check this efficiency factor. My guess is that it isclose to 20% anyway.

I have not seen anything.  I suspect that most are going to be protective of their data.  The large utility-scale plants may end up disclosing their generation due to ISO reporting requirements.

Somashekar Hariappa's picture
Somashekar Hariappa on Aug 6, 2020 5:01 pm GMT

Thanks for the response Gary.

Interestingly found this link : pvoutput.org. Has got lot of data in there. 

 

 

 

 

I don't know of any.  Typically, PV owners (whether home owners, developers like Sun Run, or utility scale owners) are deregulated and consider operating data and performance to be proprietary information. 

Hi Somashekar:  I am unaware of any data source that tracks actual production of electricity on a plant by plant basis.  However, the reality is that the design of a solar system, or a wind system for that matter can rely on the data that has been collected and vetted by NREL to provide a reasonable accurate map of the United States, and much of the world indicating solar insolation and wind speed based on an annual average that accounts for typical daily sunlight, weather variation, and other factors. Using this baseline, and knowing the production efficiency of the chosen technology, one can do a fairly accurate projection of the amount of energy that will be produced.  There are certainly tools that much of the industry relies on to do this calculation such as PVSyst.  In my work, I do the calculation and make assumptions that are conservative.  Then if I am wrong it is a happy occasion because I have justified project finance and projected investment return based on my conservative assumptions.  Any extra energy produced is just gravy because the buyer pays based on the meter reading and actual kWh received. 

 

I recommend you visit: orangebutton.io 

This open source PV-focused data sharing standard was developed precisely for this purpose.  It is currently managed by the SunSpec Alliance and was funded through the U.S. Department of Energy. 

Additionally, you can access project data at: https://www.nrel.gov/grid/solar-resource/renewable-resource-data.html

 

Somashekar Hariappa's picture
Somashekar Hariappa on Aug 6, 2020 4:47 pm GMT

Thank Jennifer. 

I also got this link in another forum https://pvoutput.org/ . 

Good question.  I have some guesses, but a developer would know.  For a plant that is grid-tied (in front of the meter) the local utility or grid authority would have the data but it will vary by jurisdiction.  Whether or not they share is  a different issue.  And the plant owners might be hesitant about this as competitive information. 

EIA - in US - shows Plant level data

Just type in name of plant and search... or filter on fuel type = Solar to get list of all plants...

 

I am not aware of any such platforms. Most of our clients consider the data confidential. NY now requires the information to be reported to the State, we got a change in the form to keep that data private. 

A significant problem is most Australian installations do not measure the output of the solar system (net metered). Yes this is a major problem with a significant percentage of domestic solar systems performing poorly. Some solar inverters upload their measurements, but my experience is these are designed to "look good" so do not allow consumers to download the measurements for further analysis. My experience with pvoutput.org (a site which claims to make the data available) was equally frustrating

NREL has a project to do this: https://www.nrel.gov/pv/fleet-performance-data-initiative.html The site says, "In exchange for contributing data to the project, participants will receive a confidential, customized performance analysis performed by NREL using RdTools, a software tool for the analysis of photovoltaic time-series data. Data will be protected by confidentiality agreements and anonymized for public sharing."

By the way, I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Matthew Chester for encouraging me to share this information here. And thanks to him, I got to know this group.

 

I'm not certain what plant sizes/ranges you are considering - but my due diligence led me to carbonTRACK -  An Australian company operating in the US. I advised them in the past but do not have a commercial relationship with them at the present time.

Their technology is design to manage solar fleets. There are 3 key features that distinguish them.

- Patented data communications and control protocol, with cybersecurity and low bandwidth requirements as core design features

- Well thought through installation and commissioning

- Configurable permissions-based platform - easy enough for mums and dads through to solar fleet owners to cinfigure.

It is the only tech I have seen that can deliver on the VPP promise.

Certainly worth an inquiry.

 

EPRI has a Solar Owners League (SOL) which has a very low entry price where we do just this. You don;t have to be a member of EPRI 's other programs to participate. PM me if interested.

Some installations around the world have their free data. You can check the websites of different manufacturers of PV equipment (inverters) and you will find this information.

Tap Into The Experience of the Network

One of the great things about our industry is our willingness to share knowledge and experience.

The Energy Central Q&A platform allows you to easily tap into the experience of thousands of your colleagues in utilities.

When you need advice, have a tough problem or just need other viewpoints, post a question. Your question will go out to our network of industry professionals and experts. If it is sensitive, you can post anonymously.