Elemize is going worldwide

Elemize Technologies is an innovative start-up, founded in Rome at the end of 2016 with the aim of giving companies operating in renewable energy the complete control of their energy assets.

After two years of development in Italy, their first round of investment brilliantly completed, numerous challenges won, several pilot tests done with the full support of the most influential European utilities such as Enel, Edison, Sorgenia and Evolvere, Elemize is ready for its next big step: the internationalization of its technology for smart grids.

Beginning in October 2018, Elemize will invest in the Australian market to accelerate its commercial growth and strengthen its leadership in the control of distributed energy around the world.

The choice is obviously not casual. In fact, not only has Australia been more generally inclined towards innovation from an institutional point of view – with more streamlined procedures and full support in investing in innovation – but above all, the country’s electricity market is recognized as extremely interesting. This especially considering the problems of the distribution network and price volatility on the Australian wholesale market:

 

Last August, in just one month of market exploration, Elemize obtained a potential pipeline of installations equal to 3,000 units. The closure of these contracts would place the company among the global leaders in the control of distributed energy.

Elemize entered the market through partnerships with some of Australia’s largest energy suppliers. These actors have adapted to the needs of the market and need to gain control over the distributed energy to diversify their supply and establish new business models, which include the energy balancing market services and the reduction of distribution costs for end users.

Currently, each storage system has its own way of being controlled locally or remotely. It is necessary to find a standard way for managing the various aggregation platforms in a  consistent way.

Elemize’s technology has proved to be very attractive as it allows companies to obtain a standardized and complete control on any storage system on the market. Contrary to how it is nowadays, thanks to Elemize energy suppliers no longer need to develop their own control platform or rely on closed and unscalable solutions.

Today Elemize is negotiating other two commercial contracts in Italy with the aim of obtaining a new “investment round” within the next 6 months.

Top 5 reasons for using a cloud based energy management software

The world has seen an increase in energy regulations recently proving the greater necessity for energy management tools. In the energy market, especially for utilities, asset managers or O&M companies it has become incredibly important to be able to manage tons of data. Cloud based energy management software have become the dominant tool and here are the 5 reasons why they should be used by energy companies to support their management practices.

1. Accessibility

Cloud based systems allow energy managers to access information with greater flexibility. By utilizing a cloud based system, users can store information from many different data acquisition systems and access and analyze this information from different sites with one application. In fact, such a system allows for easier portfolio management as it is possible to view all managed sites at once. Because energy managers are able to access information remotely, this also reduces on-site maintenance to only when absolutely necessary, saving time and cost in manual maintenance.

2. Cost Reduction in Development

Cost reduction proves to be one of the greatest benefits of cloud based energy management systems as it allows energy companies to curb costs for the development of local infrastructure. Innovation of the software as needed is crucial to remain competitive. Because these systems are generally sold as a service, the consumer does not need to take care of maintenance and updating of the database and infrastructure which again reduces wasted time and money that could be spent on implementing energy and money saving practices based on the data received. Clients also only need to pay for what they use thereby reducing excessive overhead cost.

3. Cost Reduction in Man Power Resource Allocation

Not only do cloud services minimize costs of software development and maintenance but also direct monetary costs, the cost of time, and spent resources on maintaining in-house IT professionals and infrastructure on gathering, storing and analyzing energy data. This proves most beneficial for sectors that do not or cannot prioritize in-house energy management software experts.


4. Elasticity


Cloud based systems allow for greater deployment flexibility, meaning that it is easy to either upgrade or downgrade resources which proves a great advantage for energy management systems compared to owned infrastructure. This allows the consumer to reduce or increase site data acquisition and maintenance much easier as demand dictates. For energy management specialists and consultants, this proves especially beneficial as clients change, more sites are easily implemented into the system for better facilitated management.

5. Disaster Recovery

Every business possesses sensitive, important information that is crucial to business operations and must be protected. Cloud based services are the simplest way to keep information backed up and safe. Specifically, it is cited that small businesses are twice as likely as larger companies to implement cloud-based backup and recovery solutions. This solution saves time and large up-front investments. With cloud based energy management software, energy data and savings analysis is securely maintained and updated without much work from the customer.


These reasons why cloud based energy management software provide more efficient and cheaper tools for energy management on any scale are important to understand for any asset manager or O&M company looking to take their business to the next step. But at the same time, they should look for a solution which is also highly customizable as needs of their company may not be the same as other energy companies or change over time.

This is the one of a series of articles, where we take a look at how energy companies can boost their performances through digital energy. In this series we will discuss:

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Top 5 topics at Intersolar 2018

Intersolar Europe 2018, the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners, just finished. 3 full days of great meetings, exhibitions, conferences and workshops in Munich, Germany. What were the main topics discussed?

Here the top 5:

1 E- Mobility: charging infrastructure implementation and technology

Without a comprehensive and user- friendly charging infrastructure, e-mobility will never get off the ground. Car manufactures, utilities and commercial enterprises are thus investing in their development with state support. And it’s now becoming possible to charge your car while you shop, as supermarket chains install charging stations for customers in their parking lots.

2 Floating PV – the next big thing

Rooftop and ground installations aren’t the only options for solar modules. Developers have now designed systems that can float on channels, lakes or ponds, so that no land is needed for the installation. The floating power plants have not yet prompted a surge of investments, but around 1 GW of capacity has already been installed around the world.

3 Sustainable energy systems for smart cities

More and more cities plan to modernize their infrastructure. They aim to become smart cities by addressing the growing challenges with innovative technologies and improve the quality of life of their citizens at the same time. A sustainable energy supply based on renewable energies is a core component of a smart city and energy companies are now exploring approaches to the integrated design and smart management of sustainable energy systems in cities.

4 Storage projects: already energizing the financial and insurance sector?

Energy storage systems are jostling for space in the market; without them, the energy industry cannot make the transitions to renewables. Innovative storage projects are no longer only available in sizes suitable for household use and storage technology has long been offered in power plant scale. The information service Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that investments in the storage market will reach 103 billion US dollars by the year 2030.

5 How digital infrastructure enables new energy realities

The opportunities and business models in decentralized power generation and energy management would not be possible without the supporting digital infrastructure. Opportunities provided by software services and the role of regulation and innovation in the field of digital energy developments are a hot topic in these days.

This is the one of a series of articles, where we take a look at how energy companies can boost their performances through digital energy. In this series we will discuss:

  • New revenue opportunities in the digital energy era
  • Main struggles with energy monitoring and management software
  • Vertical all in one solutions Vs. Building your own energy software

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Top 3 features of an asset management software

Not all energy asset management software are created equal. With a vast array of options available, selecting the right one for your organization can feel completely overwhelming. If you don’t know where to start, here are the top 3 features you should look for:

1) Integration:

You need to look for a truly integrated asset management solution, which allows you to care for all aspects of your energy asset within one platform. You should be able to add many different local and external data sources, according to those you need and choose a solution that can integrate them smoothly in one place. In fact, a fully integrated software saves hundreds of work hours every year and when it communicates seamlessly, your work runs smoother.

2) Accuracy:

Your energy asset management software must provide and keep accurate data for your company and it also should provide an automated solution. If you’re manually pulling spreadsheets or data reports, you substantially increase the risk of inaccurate records and, corrupted data, or human error.  Furthermore, the data provided by an energy management software allows you to make decisions based on historical information, rather than best guesses. This data enables you to have strategic (rather than reactive) planning – providing an even more profound financial benefit to your company.

3) Customization:

Time is a precious resource. If you’re like most energy asset managers, your time is always in demand, and there just isn’t enough of it to go around. This is why you need an energy management software solution that provides the functionality, efficiency, and support to meet the needs of your organization. In order to be fully efficient, a software should be extremely customizable to fit exactly your needs.

 

So, now you know what to look for in an energy asset management software but of course, you also need to understand other key aspects. For example, what you really need is a vertical all in one solutions or building your own energy software

This is the one of a series of articles, where we take a look at how energy companies can boost their performances through digital energy. In this series we will discuss:

  • New revenue opportunities in the digital energy era
  • Main struggles with energy monitoring and management software
  • Vertical all in one solutions Vs. Building your own energy software

Subscribe to our Newsletter "Digital Energy Insights"

3 ways energy companies manage their data

Many companies realized that, in order to compete in the renewable energy sector, they need to invest in managing their data effectively.

Indeed, this investment can bring multiple benefits such as:

  1. Enhanced productivity
    According to the number of power plants a company has, there are several people spending many days each month for logging in, downloading, checking, organizing and copy-pasting data. Automating these tasks allows to focus on more valuable activities.

     

  2. Customer satisfaction
    Each customer has her own needs regarding the types of information she wants from the asset manager or O&M company. Delivering effective analyses, reports or bills to your customers greatly affects your perceived reliability and transparency.

     

  3. Increased asset ROI
    Overall, having the right data at the right time lets you improve your operations, increase the efficiency of your maintenance activities, also enabling predictive capabilities. All together, these enhancements can increase your asset ROI by 40%.

Renewable energy companies have multiple sources of data, such as those coming from monitoring systems, SCADA systems, sensors, meters, web portals, weather services and so on…

According to the volume of data, their variety and the velocity at which they need to process them, companies choose one out of three options to manage their data:

  • Spreadsheets

In many companies, energy asset managers find themselves using Excel sheets to make reports. Excel was not designed as a solution for energy asset management, so it is often inaccurate and inefficient for managing energy assets. Plus, it is really struggling to copy and paste data all day long, and the larger the portfolio the more difficult it is to handle all the data using just a spreadsheet.

  • Custom software

When portfolios grow, companies often ask a software house or the monitoring system provider to develop a customized system that automates reports or alerts. The immediate pro for a custom system is obvious: it is tailor-made to fit one’s specific needs. But what many don’t realize is how expensive a custom platform can be, or how long it takes to build.

  • Web based platforms

This is doubtless less expensive and fastest option to deploy than a custom software. In addition, Saas platforms are used by others too, so they are tested and improved constantly. Obviously there are risks too: while buying a platform that isn’t custom-made it won’t perfectly match everybody’s needs.

Each choice has pro’s and con’s. In order to select the best option, an asset manager should carefully analyse the three V’s (velocity, volume, variety of data), the internal resources of the company and the customer needs. 

 

This is the one of a series of articles, where we take a look at how energy companies can boost their performances through digital energy. In this series we will discuss:

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Top 15 KPIs in Energy Asset Reports

Among all the ways one can track energy assets over time, reports figure as those documents that help several stakeholders to control critical parameters over time. Despite dashboards and monitoring systems that are useful for day to day operations, reports are usually handled each month, quarter or even year.

 

The content of these reports vary according to the people they are addressed to:

  • Operating reports are those reports that are generated for department level evaluation and budgeting;
  • Executive reports usually include the high level valuation of the whole portfolio of activities and assets;
  • Customer reports are usually addressed to the owners or the managers of the power plants and include figures regarding the technical and financial performance of the portfolio.

According to the scope of work, the document should allow to keep track of different KPI’s. The following table lists the 15 most common KPI’s for tracking renewable energy assets.

 

Mean Time Between Failures

This is the predicted elapsed time between inherent failures of the system, during normal system operation. It should not be used as a prediction to when the parts will fail.

DC / AC Ratio

This KPI allows to have a look at the loss of energy from converting current through the inverter.

Inverter Clipping Ratio

It shows the times inverters clipped to keep the production within maximum AC output limits. Useful when compared to DC / AC Ratio

Uptime per Inverter

It’s a measure of how well the inverter is working over time. It greatly affects the Plant Availability.

Mean Time To Repair

Average time it takes for repair to be completed.

TT – Ticket Types %

In an O&M or asset management companies, tickets can be many. This measure helps keeping control over issues in each period.

PA – Plant Availability

This KPI is calculated as a percentage and represents the time that the power plant is available to provide energy to the grid.

Variance between expected kWh and actual kWh

It allows not only to enhance the predictive algorithms, but also to identify incorrect data or lead to other problems such as weather or hardware.

Irradiance

Measurement of solar energy in watt per square meter. It is necessary to calculate Performance Ratio.

Performance Ratio

PR indicates the amount of solar energy captured by plants out of the total available energy at site.

Capacity Factor

It is a measure of energy actually generated Vs. the maximum possible output under ideal conditions. It is affected by the weather.

Specific Yield (kWh/kWp)

It is the energy generated each year per nominal capacity of the plant installed.

Return on Investment

ROI is the ratio of a project’s estimated earnings to its initial investment.

Net Present Value

It represents the value off all the project’s estimated future earnings in today’s money.

Internal Rate of Return

The IRR tells you how much you are earning on the investment annually.

How many of these KPIs you have to show in your reports, depends on the stakeholders and what needs they have.

This is the one of a series of articles, where we take a look at how energy companies can boost their performances through digital energy. In this series we will discuss:

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3 ways to improve the ROI of your energy spreadsheets

You would love to automate your reports, but the already existing platforms are not capable of giving what you want? 

Most energy asset managers are struggling with organizing and processing their data to create periodical reports. These documents are critical for anyone operating in the energy industry and at every level. Thus, asset managers put so much effort in their excel models over the last years, that are now reluctant to say them goodbye.

They would love to automate their reports and cut down the time spent on spreadsheets, but the truth is that even though there are a lot of energy asset management platforms out there, just a few truly allow you to get the data and the reports exactly how they want them. 

Are you one of them? 

Did you invest hours, days or even weeks creating the perfect report that fits your needs? Which works perfectly but at the same time is so time consuming and needs a lot of manual work?

What you need is to find a software which helps run your work smoother, customizable and easy to integrate with what you already created so that you can get the report exactly as you need it.  

Here are a few examples of how you can avoid wasting the time spent on spreadsheet for different kinds of reports: 

Operating report: those that are generated for department level evaluation and budgeting. You currently track all your obligations using Excel and have an internal system that works. Use that data to upload it to a more robust system that will allow you to assign the tasks to individual or roles and set reminders when necessary.

Executive reports: those usually include the high level valuation of the whole portfolio of activities and assets. Find a software which allows you to upload your existing model that you put together in Excel, so you won’t have to trash your hard work.

Customer reports: those are usually addressed to the owners of the power plants and include figures regarding the technical and financial performance of the portfolio. Perhaps there are tracking spreadsheets that you love, and simply cannot move away from. Look for a software that allows you to update it and upload it using the document management tool in the platform that will tie it to a specific portfolio or project. It will allow you to tag it with labels and assign it to specific users or contact.

 

This is the one of a series of articles, where we take a look at how energy companies can boost their performances through digital energy. In this series we will discuss:

  • New revenue opportunities in the digital energy era
  • How much time do asset managers waste on spreadsheets?
  • Main struggles with energy monitoring and management software
  • SaaS vs On-Premise Energy Management Software

Subscribe to our Newsletter "Digital Energy Insights"

How much time do asset managers waste on spreadsheets?

Spreadsheet work is busy work. People spend days, weeks or even months working on their spreadsheets. Creating and running important spreadsheets is hard work and takes a long time. But much of that time is wasted.

How can asset management software compliment Excel?


Microsoft Excel is a widely used tool across many different industries. 90% of businesses use spreadsheets at some capacity or another. In the Renewable Energy asset management industry, we estimate that 75% of asset managers still use Excel to manage the operations of their assets, despite the fact that there are better solutions available in the market place.

If it works, why move to another system? While Excel works to some extent it’s not designed to act as a central database for multiple projects. It’s not really meant for multiple people to use at the same time and as a result, prone to errors. It may be sufficient if you are running a few projects but will become a problem as your portfolio grows. 

Here are 5 reasons why asset managers do not like working in Excel:

1. Reliability issues
Excel is a great tool but is it enough to run your business off of it? How do you ensure that the right people have access to the right information at any time? How do you make sure that the data entry was validated? That it is in the correct version of Excel to be backward compatible with an old data source? How about accidental data deletion? Corrupted files? Copy paste errors?
Cloud based asset management solutions avoid all that.

2. One version of the truth
Excel files are notoriously easy to save, resave, overwrite, move, copy, send, etc. With all of these versions moving across your organization how do you make sure you are using the latest and greatest version? How do you know that you have updated the latest version? Or that you’ve taken accurate information from an older version?

3. Did you send that spreadsheet to a client with too much or too little information?
What happens when two people edit the spreadsheet simultaneously and start circulating two different versions of the same file. Centralized systems can help organize and catalogue information and ensure that only authorized users see what they need. 

4. Information is often tied to one person.
An Excel sheet can hold all the answers, but it soon becomes bloated with hundreds of rows and multiple tabs. It is also quite cumbersome to the one person who is the administrator of that file, and thus becomes the central point of contact for any and all inquiries. What happens when the administrator goes on vacation or, even worse, switches groups or leaves the company? Everything is lost. And then you’re left starting from scratch, only to re-start the vicious cycle with some other Excel administrator.
Proper asset management software is simple and straightforward. Information is recorded and displayed in a way that everyone can understand. You’ll enjoy it the next time you can take a vacation without being bothered about why a macro doesn’t work or how to modify a formula!


5. How do you keep it updated?

Excel for all its power requires constant manual updates. I have seen countless models, trackers, forecasts, etc. that all became stale because they weren’t updated. Data entry in Excel is often a manual process that can lead to import errors or typos. Which can all lead to wrong conclusions or bloated quality assurance process. When dealing with data, automation and centralization is the only way to make sure your data is up to date and trust worthy.
In essence, your business is too valuable to be trusted to Excel.

This is the one of a series of articles, where we take a look at how energy companies can boost their performances through digital energy. In this series we will discuss:

  • New revenue opportunities in the digital energy era
  • Main struggles with energy monitoring and management software
  • Vertical all in one solutions Vs. Building your own energy software

Subscribe to our Newsletter "Digital Energy Insights"