by Alexandra Mebane, Solarplaza
“Professional management of PV assets and portfolios will be a key driver during the coming decade in the evolution of PV as an increasingly trusted and material source of energy,” states Mr. Stefano Cruccu of Solarplaza. Optimizing such assets has presented itself as a critical management theme, re-establishing itself within the industry as it serves to encourage stakeholders to increasingly dedicate time, investments and additional education to this topic.
Asset owners are discovering that investing in Operations, Maintenance and Financial management is ultimately an expenditure resulting in a higher IRR of a portfolio. As the market matures, standardization in contracts, service offerings and technology increases, although there remains a serious demand for improvement in this area. Another effect of maturation of the market is the crescent level of understanding between service providers and asset owners, or more generally, between technical and financial stakeholders. This also leads to, unlike previously, O&M and Asset Management being increasingly considered already during the design and development phase, which results in lower OPEX over the lifetime of the assets.
Unlike previously, O&M and Asset Management are increasingly considered already during the design and development phase
Because investors place strict regulations on the quality of assets, there is high value behind all types of standardization. Even a .1% performance drop, or a few hours per month of downtime during a sunny day, can cost an exorbitant amount of money in the long-term. In the case that monitoring and quality control of existing systems is anything less than optimal, then in some instances and contextually dependent, an unknown loss of up to 50,000kWh per megawatt of installed power every year can occur. This means, with a feed-in tariff of $0.20 cents, this inefficiency alone would already result in a $10,000 loss each year.
Even a .1% performance drop, or a few hours per month of downtime during a sunny day, can cost an exorbitant amount of money in the long-term.
Project Manager Stefano Cruccu of Solarplaza primarily focuses on the field of solar asset management. “Inverters - which have the biggest impact in terms of energy loss in PV plants - are becoming more intelligent as various new kinds of monitoring and SCADA software are being further developed. Scheduled cleaning and snow removal are becoming robotized, and degradation and system failures can be detected earlier than before by advanced monitoring and various ways of testing. There are many exciting technological innovations taking place in this field, which will - if integrated well and standardized following industry best practices - absolutely continue to reduce losses and drive down costs.”
More information regarding the latest trends in professional asset and portfolio management can be found at Solarplaza’s second annual Solar Asset Management North America conference, which will take place in San Francisco, CA, USA from April 1-2, 2015. The conference was a huge success in its first year, necessitating a second edition, and will cover all topics related to optimization of performance and minimization of risks in the operational phase of PV assets.
Solarplaza organizes international high-level conferences and exploratory trade missions in both established and emerging markets across the globe. With a track-record spanning five continents, twenty-four countries, and thirty-three cities for a total of over sixty events, Solarplaza keeps pushing forward to empower professionals in solar business development.