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.

Elemize towards the Australian market

After having enjoyed support from Sorgenia (energy retailer with more than 200.000 customers in Italy) and having successfully completed several pilot tests with giants like Enel, Edison and Evolvere, Elemize is preparing to internationalize starting from the Australian market.

With the objective of boosting the commercialization of Bamboo, the independent energy storage controller that allows to apply any strategy on any inverter, two Elemize co-founders will be traveling to Sydney for 4 weeks in August. They already have several meetings in agenda, including Institutional bodies, venture capitalists and key players in the Australian energy sector.

However, most of the effort will be spent in search of partners and clients – among energy retailers and project developers – for the implementation of energy aggregation projects in the Country.

While Italy and Europe have great future potential in terms of energy storage development, Australia has already put in place a regulation that facilitates the implementation of advanced energy aggregation projects, which are made profitable by the pressure on reducing network costs and the possibility to provide ancillary services from virtual power plants.

The team believes that the Australian market might be the perfect place to speed up the commercialization at global scale, aiming to consolidate Elemize position as one of the leaders in the control of distributed energies worldwide.

Any Australian stakeholders are welcome to schedule a meeting and meet Elemize team writing an email to australia @ elemize.com (remove spacing).

We will update about our activities, so stay tuned on our Facebook or LinkedIn accounts!

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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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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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"

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

Subscribe to our Newsletter "Digital Energy Insights"

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"