8 O&M independent solar monitoring software

When it comes to monitor solar production and equipment, there are two basic choices one can make: rely on the information coming from the monitoring system of the inverter provider or implement an independent software. 

Independent software providers allow to ingest large amounts of data and aggregate the information regardless of the hardware. Within their web portals, they give you the right information about what’s happening and why, through a dedicated user interface.

These companies usually provide a comprehensive Service Ticket Management, Vendor Management and Contract Management System to assist O&M managers with their O&M needs. 

Some of the basic benefits of adopting such systems include:

•    Optimizing production by ensuring minimum outages and downtime.

•    Managing asset warranty and maintenance for increasing asset life and reducing risk.

•    Ensuring the compliance with utility companies and regulation authorities.

•    Full control over the performance, production, operational issues and project risks.

 

Here it follows a list of the most important independent solar monitoring systems in the market.

•    Inaccess 

Unity for Solar is an integrated, vendor independent solution for the centralized management of geographically distributed solar plants. As a Solar Plant Monitoring System, it offers accurate fault recognition and real time performance monitoring according to IEC 61724 standard. 

•    QOS Energy

QOS Energy powers Qantum, a cloud renewable O&M analytics & monitoring software solution dedicated the management of renewable energy plants and storage facilities. Qantum enables clients to increase power production, optimise operation and maintenance processes and maximise returns.

•    GreenPower Monitor

GPM’s platform provides an immediate reading of data which minimizes reaction time. Its proprietary command module can act directly on remote devices to change their state immediately.

•    BaxEnergy

A software environment for all activities of power plant owners, managers, operators, technicians and consultants to reduce costs, save time and increase production.

•    Skytron Energy

The PVGuard® SupervisionPlatform continuously monitors your renewable energy power plants, constantly updates your plant portfolio and promptly alerts you to problems. Its integrated alarm management simplifies fault tracking. 

•    Locus Energy

Locus Energy’s LocusNOC™ (Network Operation Center) is a cloud-based software application providing enterprise-class tools for PV market stakeholders to collect, organize, and assess performance data from a diverse set of solar PV assets.

•    Meteo Control

The safer’Sun Professional and VCOM monitoring systems ensure smooth system operation. They offer detailed analysis and assessment of performance, instant alarms in the event of faults and regular reporting.

•    Solar Log

As the global leader in independent, residential, and commercial solar PV monitoring, Solar-Log’s industry-leading functionality offers best-in-class solar plant fleet management, tools to optimize consumption of self-produced power, and intelligent grid feed-in control.

 

Independent solar monitoring systems become crucial when the O&M or the manager of the solar plant portfolio begins to struggle in switching between more than 5 or 10 inverter-based monitoring solutions. 

Even though it comes at a cost, at the end you will notice that the improvements in operational efficiencies and plants’ performance well overcome the expenses.

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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SaaS vs On-Premise Energy Management Software

SaaS vs On-Premise Energy Management Software

If your job includes managing energy data, either for controlling power production or energy consumption, there’s 90% chance that you are struggling – or at least have struggled – with the integration and organization of your data. Doing that in a good or bad way since the beginning, can affect your business for many years. 


Asset managers, O&M companies or even energy suppliers have two choices: they can develop their own on-premise software, or they can rely on third party’s platforms, that typically work in a Saas (software as a service) manner. 

Both choices have their pro and cons, it really depends on what are your business needs and goals for the long run.


However, in a phase in which it’s difficult to integrate new technologies and business models – like in the energy industry right now – we suggest that system reliability and integration are the key elements that allow companies to keep the pace of innovation and satisfy growing customers’ needs. In particular, we think that there are 5 main reasons why Saas solutions might be better than on-premise custom software:

1. Lower cost of entry

With SaaS, you pay for what you need, without having to buy hardware to host your new applications. Instead of provisioning internal resources to install the software, the vendor provides APIs and performs much of the work to get their software working for you. The time to a working solution can drop from months in the traditional model to weeks, days or hours with the SaaS model.

2. Reduced time to benefit/rapid prototyping

In the SaaS model, the software application is already installed and configured. Users can provision the server for the cloud and quickly have the application ready for use. This cuts the time to benefit and allows to immediatly benefit from it without long wait times or steep learning curves.

3. Scalability

A SaaS approach to energy management, where you can collect all your data, offers more capabilities and fewer headaches than having to control different energy management systems at the same time.

Plus, your energy needs are likely to shift over time and your SaaS software can adapt along with it. For example it allows software suppliers to provide their customers access to new tools that have been shaped by tens of thousands of users’ needs.

4. Costs

Another key difference between Cloud and on-premise solutions is how they are priced. While there are many exceptions to this rule, in general, Cloud software is priced under a monthly or annual subscription basis including costs for support and updates, with the only additional fees being training.

On-premise software is generally priced under a one-time perpetual license fee (usually based on the size of the organisation or the number of concurrent users). There are recurring fees for support, updates and training. But what many companies forget to consider is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of their on-premise software investment, including hardware, network, backup and development systems.

5. The SaaS vendor is responsible for upgrades, uptime and security

Under the SaaS model, since the software is hosted by the vendor, they take on the responsibility for maintaining the software and upgrading it, ensuring that it is reliable and meeting agreed-upon service level agreements, and keeping the application and its data secure.

SaaS software is a solution growing in popularity in the energy sector and has become an increasingly viable business option in the last few years. Suppliers take care of them for you and roll out regular software updates, whilst offering you the highest levels of security.

These benefits are now available with cloud-based energy management tools and having everything in one place is the ultimate key to managing and running a successful business.

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"

Top 3 Energy Asset Management Software

In the last years, technology companies have developed several software that help RE asset managers to reduce costs, improve the performance of their plants and organize activities and tasks. 

If we look at the market right now, we see that these software help asset managers in four different ways:

  • Operations

Just like enterprise resource planning systems, asset management platforms speed up operations by automating tasks and events, managing procurement and inventory and keeping track of all activities related to contracts and compliance needs.

  • Finance

Some software gives the possibility to turn energy flows into cash flows. In addition to that, they can help drawing business plans and analyse the impact of asset performance and related expenses on the overall profitability.

  • Customer relationships

Most of asset management platforms not only have CRM features, but also allow to automate all performance and asset reporting activities, while easily sending invoices to customers.

  • Monitoring

Some asset management tools also integrate features which are typical of O&M systems, like alarms management, production monitoring, weather and performance ratio tracking.

In our opinion, these are the top 3 Energy Asset Management software available in the market:

  • Arbox – an innovative clean-tech company that develops software to solve problems in the renewable energy sector.  Its purpose is to
    lower the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) through smart software.
  • Alectris – It optimizes Solar PV Performance with Integrated Operations, Maintenance and Asset Management. They are a global solar O&M firm, creators of ACTIS, Solar ERP.
  • 3megawatt GmbH – It develops web based software tools for solar asset management. The company offers BluePoint, a web based platform for solar asset management and portfolio risk management. It caters to Fund Managers, Equity Sponsors, REITs, Private Equity firms, and Asset Managers.

Now, when it comes to choose a software it is important to consider what makes sense for you.

On one hand, these kinds of software are extremely reliable: they have been tested and are used daily by various asset managers. They are easy to integrate and easy to get, as we previously wrote on our last article.

On the other hand, you have to consider your budget and understand if what you are paying for is really what you need.  For example, not all tools can handle the same amount of data and there is no sense in paying for more capacity than you will need. Plus, you get a software which cannot be customized and could possibly miss features you need to run your business.

So, at the end of the day your priorities will dictate which is right for your company. With any investment, the initial cost as well as the costs to customize and then train your staff must be considered. You want to be sure you not only purchase the right software, but that you have the level of support you need and a marketplace where you can easily get what you need, seems the perfect answer.

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

New business opportunities from digital energy technologies

We’re entering an era of massive change in the energy sector. Renewables are demanding for new capabilities: data collection and exchange are growing exponentially, creating digital threats which are at the same time valuable opportunities.  

These opportunities are present for all the renewables actors, but let’s dive in in each category’s new revenue opportunities:

Asset management: Highest system performance at the lowest maintenance cost

In the digital era O&M companies are able to automate their asset management. Thanks to dozens of systems they can automate most of the tasks, such as financial and performance reporting, contracts management, and improve their results from many other tools, leading to a more efficient asset management.

Energy trading: Managing price volatility in the energy markets

This is a revenue opportunity for asset managers and sometimes O&M companies. Indeed, energy trading has never been so simple, thanks to lots of energy trading and risk management (ETRM) and load optimization software in the market. Nowadays’ applications can cover all aspects of a transaction lifecycle, eliminating any chance of human error while aggregating, blending, and analyzing inputs from all data sources, which allows you to manage and automate your energy trading.

Energy communities: Allowing multiple participants to benefit from one solar array.

In liberalized markets, PV developers and system integrators with strong technical and financial background can operate energy communities. Many tools allow to automate the billing process, optimize complex energy production, storage and consumption systems and trade energy or flexibility sources in electricity markets. So, thanks to the digital energy these companies can now compete with larger utilities.

Aggregators: Maintain grid stability and reliability.

Today it seems that every energy trader and power producer wants to become an aggregator of renewable energy, storage or demand response resources. They can do this, by exploiting the aggregation and real-time action of energy assets and industrial loads can provide accurate frequency regulation and demand response. Nowadays energy trading softwares operate in an asset-agnostic environment that leverages open APIs for asset integration. This enables various DER asset types and tailors optimization needs to the specific value proposition in any geography. 

 

Indeed, the software necessary to achieve all these great opportunities is out there, companies just need to understand what they really want to achieve and go for it.

This is the third 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:

Subscribe to our Newsletter "Digital Energy Insights"

Elemize Technologies e Sorgenia: insieme per i Prosumer

Elemize Technologies e Sorgenia: insieme per i Prosumer

Milano, 17 Ottobre 2017 

Rendere sempre più autosufficiente il sistema di produzione di energia da parte dei consumatori residenziali, consentendo loro di essere i protagonisti della gestione energetica della propria abitazione. Questo l’obiettivo dell’accordo siglato tra Sorgenia e la start up romana Elemize Technologies.

Il sistema creato da Elemize Technologies permetterà ai clienti di Sorgenia, da settembre 2018, di collegare i pannelli fotovoltaici e le batterie della propria abitazione a una piattaforma in cloud in grado di analizzare costantemente la produzione e i consumi domestici, per una maggiore consapevolezza della spesa energetica da parte degli utenti, consentendo al contempo una gestione più accurata degli accumuli rispetto ai classici sistemi EMS (Energy Management System). Ciò garantirà una gestione più efficiente e conveniente dell’immissione e del prelievo dell’energia dalla rete e dal sistema di storage. L’utente potrà partecipare attivamente alla vendita di energia, avvalendosi delle migliori condizioni di mercato per vendere il surplus di energia prodotta dal suo impianto. Le variabili prese in considerazione dalla piattaforma per l’ottimizzazione dell’intero sistema sono molteplici: i prezzi di immissione e prelievo dell’energia sul mercato, i dati delle previsioni meteorologiche per una stima della produzione dell’impianto fotovoltaico e i consumi attesi sulla base dell’apprendimento del comportamento degli utenti.

Dice Gianfilippo Mancini, Amministratore Delegato di Sorgenia: “Le tecnologie digitali e gli algoritmi di analisi sono già oggi una risorsa preziosa per ottimizzare i consumi e lo scambio di energia. Sono seicentomila le famiglie in Italia che producono energia e che possono avere dei vantaggi economici rilevanti grazie a questa collaborazione. Digitalizzazione significa per noi efficienza, controllo dei consumi, migliore utilizzo delle risorse, trasparenza, benefici per i clienti e per l’ambiente”.

Aggiunge Niccolò Teodori, AD di Elemize Technologies: “L’accordo con Sorgenia ci permetterà di crescere più velocemente sia in Italia che all’estero già dai prossimi mesi, con l’obiettivo di porre i prosumer al centro del nuovo sistema energetico. La nostra piattaforma è l’unico strumento che, anche alle regole attuali di mercato, permette di creare una connessione tra utilities e consumatori, dimezzando i costi energetici del prosumer e aumentando l’efficienza del sistema elettrico in generale”.

 

Elemize alla World Maker Faire di New York

Il 23 e il 24 settembre, presso la Hall of Science di New York avrà luogo la World Maker Faire.

Giunta all’ottava edizione, la Maker Faire è il luogo dove maker e appassionati di ogni età e background si incontrano per presentare i propri progetti e condividere le proprie conoscenze e scoperte.

Ci saranno più di 220 Maker Faire nel 2017, sparse in 45 nazioni. La World Maker Faire New York, evento di punta, è cresciuta negli ultimi anni fino ad arrivare a più di 950 Makers e 95.000 partecipanti a edizione.

Quest’anno sarà presente anche Elemize Technologies, rappresentata dal CEO Niccolò Teodori.