Independent software and services provider for renewable energy Power Factors LLC has announced the launch of Drive Pro, a new advanced asset performance management solution for solar.
Courtesy of NREL
Drive Pro provides owners, operators and asset managers with a set of innovative tools to identify and recover PV plant performance losses in order to maximize portfolio profitability. Initial customer testing has indicated that the platform will enable asset managers of solar portfolios to capture 2 to 5 percent of incremental performance from their fleet of PV power plants. This translates into over $600 million of revenue recovered from the 97.1 GW of new capacity installed last year.
The current rapid growth in renewable energy portfolios and tighter margins require asset performance management solutions that enable solar asset owners and Independent Service Providers (ISPs) to scale their operations while keeping labour costs down. This requires a solution that both cleanses the imperfect, noisy data from solar plants and automatically detects and prioritises recoverable performance losses. Using such a platform, asset managers and operators can work to recover hidden performance losses quickly in order to optimise plant performance.
To ensure Drive Pro addresses real-world problems while delivering top and bottom-line value, Power Factors partnered with Arevon, a Capital Dynamics affiliate and leading clean energy asset manager with more than 6 GW under management. Arevon’s regular feedback, alpha testing and insight created a perfect co-innovation environment.
“As a data-driven asset manager, we need a tool that aligns owner and operator project incentives, and we worked with Power Factors to create a solution that enables us to manage assets with the vigilance an owner demands” said Justin Johnson, President and CEO at Arevon. “Until now, recovering lost performance was a zero-sum game. Drive Pro changes that math by bringing sophisticated insights, improved visibility and a higher level of accountability to the owner/operator relationship, helping us optimise the returns on our diverse portfolio of assets.”
Developed extensively over a number of years, Drive Pro grew out of Power Factors’ work under the Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative to produce a comprehensive loss characterisation framework for solar assets. The platform builds on the data foundation established by Power Factors’ Drive solution to deliver advanced analytical insights, closing the loop between asset performance and all aspects of asset management - from plant design to predictive modelling to O&M.
The Drive Pro development effort focused on easy-to-use workflows aimed at answering the question, “Where are we losing energy and what, if anything, should we do to address the loss?” Solving this challenge required a focus on Trust, Time and Tools.
Trust in Data - Provides asset managers, performance engineers and operators with a foundation of trust in the data and models driving their reports, analytics and workflows.
Fleet-Level Assessment in Record Time - With its suite of intelligent and automated tools, Drive Pro drives operational efficiencies, helping owners, asset managers and operators address the problems of scale and lack of time. This is achieved through automated event management and energy loss allocation (ELA); automated data validation, estimation and editing (VEE); and automated analytics (i.e., detects DC-array losses automatically using only standard plant instrumentation, automatically alerts stakeholders of where the losses are and enables downstream workflow to initiate recovery).
New Tools - Drive Pro comes with a state-of-the-art set of tools and workflows that delivers enhanced visibility into performance issues and better plant oversight. This is made possible through a combination of machine learning techniques, industry-tested workflows, intuitive role-based visualisations and trustworthy data and models.
Drive Pro adds the following key features to the Power Factors Drive platform in its initial release:
Degraded Classification - Drive Pro enables hands-off trend monitoring and automatic detection of underperformance signatures (soiling, shading or string-level outages) using only AC-metered data and standard plant sensors - all while continuously learning and automatically improving the speed and accuracy of its predictions over time.
Data Capability - Drive Pro runs an automated suite of hundreds of data quality and capability tests across a fleet to identify and automatically remove plant-level data quality and capability issues that would invalidate downstream advanced analytics results. Drive Pro then provides granular detail and recommended actions for each failed test so users can strategically improve portfolio data quality and capability at scale.
Loss Overview - Provides users with a dynamically updated view into the difference between actual production and theoretical maximum production, categorising all losses and providing powerful drilldowns to understand root cause. Drilldown capabilities allow the user to understand where deviations are occurring and why. This tool targets building trust in performance models so that analysts and asset managers can be sure that perceived performance issues are worthy of attention.
Budget Deviation - Allows users to continuously visualise losses in the context of unfavourable proforma variances to help prioritise recovery initiatives. Budget Deviation can also be used to improve project proforma models and reduce portfolio risk.
Predicted Loss Auditor - Audits manufacturer specifications and improves asset performance models and production estimates by comparing against the true baseline performance of assets at scale.
The Drive Pro solution is available now to new customers and as an upgrade for existing Power Factors Drive customers.