Is Your PV Remote Monitoring/SCADA System Functional?

Have you invested in a best in class Solar PV SCADA and now unable to monitor your PV Plant? You are not alone! There are several Solar PV Plant owners repenting their decision on the choice of PV Monitoring system/SCADA.

At Avi Solar Energy, our Analytics & Monitoring team studied and analysed over 1GW of Solar PV plants across India. Here is the summary of our analysis:

For a Solar Plant Developer, getting the Inverter up and pumping power to the grid has been the focus when a new plant is built. SCADA is the last item in punch list, because even if it is not functional, the generation is still ON! Its only after couple of years after the plant is commissioned, when the O&M team reports issues at the site, plant owner realizes that monitoring is important to figure out the performance of the plant.

Here are some of the major issues with SCADA / Remote Monitoring systems that we have experienced in field

1.  Leased line connections not working.

Most SCADA needs a high bandwidth internet connection like leased lines, which are very expensive to maintain.

2.  Developers have not renewed the AMC with SCADA supplier

Many suppliers sold their system at low prices initially, but owners didn’t know that you need to pay a heavy premium every year.

3.   Cables connecting the SCADA systems are damaged.

Most traditional SCADA systems were interconnected using Kilometres of Fibre Optic / Copper cables, which have been damaged by unskilled labourers at the plant.

4.  No Service / Support engineers visit the plant

Many leading SCADA suppliers provide you telephonic support. But to resolve major issues you need to depute service engineers at these sites which are usually in remote areas.

5.  SCADA is limited to control room only.

Many plants have a monitoring system at the control room, which means you are at the mercy of site engineer. Data accuracy and relevance could be at stake if the plant can’t be monitored remotely.

6.  No String Level Monitoring.

Data collection is limited to Inverter monitoring only.

String level faults cannot be detected.

The good news is that, there are retrofit solutions available which can replenish your existing SCADA and bring the plant data to your remote monitoring centre. IoT being the buzz word today, there are several options to get the data from your plant to the cloud in a cost-effective manner. There are several IoT platforms which can monitor data from PV plants. EagleSun SCADA™ is one such platform exclusively developed for Solar PV Plants.

As the PV plant gets older, one needs to watch for performance degradations, losses due to aging of plant BOS like connectors, cables and terminations. Your SCADA needs to be operational and you need to have the plant data. It is strongly recommended that you monitor all the equipment, mainly the Inverter, Weather Station, String Combiner Box, Transformers, VCB and Energy Meters. If cost concerns exist for string-level monitoring, Zonal level monitoring solution can be considered.

The history of your plant will not only give insight into the performance parameters, it can also help you a great deal in forecasting & scheduling.

EagleSun SCADA™ is one of the cost-effective solution to retrofit your remote monitoring system. Service support is equally important. Avi Solar team being the leading provider of O&M services for Solar PV assets, with their professional team of engineers and technicians can provide local support for the EagleSun SCADA™ across India.

 

 

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