One owner-operator of a portfolio of utility-scale PV systems has already begun to use IoT architectures to address issues with data access. For a multi-MW plant, infiswift was engaged to make data previously confined to the local SCADA historian available remotely. A dedicated Cloud Historian was set up, and with no hardware deployed, data was extracted and made available via API to both a Financial Asset Management Suite and a Work Order Management System. Furthermore, the owner-operator was able to perform analyses which highlighted inconsistencies between the data and the monthly performance reports from the O&M provider. As a result, a number of underperforming strings were identified and fixed, resulting in increased performance.
Future developments for this owner-operator would likely include deploying additional software at other plants. Aggregating data from a full portfolio of plants together with external systems such as Financial Asset Management, Work Order Management, Grid Data Feeds, and Asset Tracking will allow the owner to visualize and access data in a central location from multiple inverter vendors, streamline analysis and make significant operational improvements in managing the full portfolio. Without proper data interoperability, significant overhead is added to completing these critical operational tasks.
As the PV industry matures, new problems have surfaced that require modern solutions to overcome them. Interoperability is the gating issue that can hold all sorts of other innovation back if not handled properly. Once resolved, however, more advanced services can be implemented that use accessible and complete data to optimize production and change the industry.