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How deployment of IoT in utility scale solar plants can increase value for ecosystem stakeholders such as asset management companies and O & M companies

image credit: Volkmar Kunerth
Volkmar Kunerth's picture
CEO AND CONSULTANT Accentec Technologies LLC

  • Member since 2021
  • 8 items added with 2,162 views
  • Jan 21, 2022

During my recent visit at the Intersolar 2022 in Long Beach I came across several providers IoT energy solutions for solar plants. These providers offer remote monitoring to help energy companies better manage their solar power production.

Those IoT cloud based systems use the Internet of Things for asset optimization and real-time predictive maintenance. 

The applications enable  ecosystems stakeholders such as O&M and asset management companies to improve productivity and produce better ROI.

There are different challenges for O&M and asset management companies when designing, building and maintaining utility scale solar plants that influence plant yield.

Plant yield can be reduced by three overall factors:

  • Losses caused by dust, shade, snow or reflection preventing the solar energy from hitting the PV panels.
  • Losses caused by inefficiencies or errors in the photovoltaic panels themselves
  • Losses are caused by wiring, transformers, inverters and so on.

In order to detect those losses and solve the causes IoT technology can help.

The implementation of IoT in solar utility scale energy plants has the following advantages and capabilities: 

a. Energy production loss: Helps reduce solar energy production loss due to dust dirt and snow: Sensors determine the soil level and algorithms and algorithms optimize the sequences of cleaning cycles. IoT helps with optimizing cleaning cycle routine, reduce water consumption & manpower cost.

b. Power Prediction: Gathering and analyzing data in order to predict solar power generation on various time horizons with the goal to mitigate the impact of solar intermittency. Solar power forecasts are used for efficient management of the electric grid and for power trading taking into consideration environmental conditions and historical power generation to generate future predictions.

c.  Improve asset utilization: Enable more efficient use of existing assets when you can predict maintenance issues and reduce failures on the job. Analyzing asset health of solar plant assets such as inverters, solar cells and cables.

d.  Predictive Maintenance: Asset Failure Prediction:  Discovering anomalies in the assets for predictive maintenance. Predictive  maintenance uses  data from IoT sensors, operations, IT and EAM systems and predicts asset failure and initiates action to avoid breakdowns.

e. Remote Monitoring: Provides Plant & Asset Level monitoring (comparison & ranking) using observed parameters & computed KPIs.

If assets are not properly monitored and controlled in solar plants operators, asset managers and investors loose revenue and ROI. 




Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 21, 2022

 Improve asset utilization: Enable more efficient use of existing assets when you can predict maintenance issues and reduce failures on the job. 

This obviously is important when you're installing new assets, but how much can you improve this after the fact when it's already in the field?

Volkmar Kunerth's picture
Volkmar Kunerth on Jan 21, 2022

That is exactly why I wrote the post. Solutions out there, for example those of Apollo IoT make sure that you get the most out of your existing assets by monitoring exiting installations making sure they fulfill  planned KPI's so investors get the planned ROI and off takers have information to utilize about availability of electricity.

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