How monitoring maximizes profits in the photovoltaic industry

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June 29, 2022

How monitoring maximizes profits in the photovoltaic industry

The integration of renewable energy and storage generates additional monitoring and control needs, not only to ensure optimal performance, but also for the earliest possible return on investment.

Monitoring is necessary to understand energy production and use, detect problems early and take appropriate action.

To understand how electrical energy is being used and how it can be optimized, owners must:

  • Track how photovoltaic (PV) energy produced is consumed by loads, stored, or injected into the grid
  • Track and analyze photovoltaic energy production trends along with load consumption
  • Calculate the economic benefits associated with reducing energy consumption from the grid

Asset management functions should also be provided by a PV system monitoring system. This should include evaluating the performance of the PV system, detecting offsets or faults, and immediate notification of faults. In addition, since PV inverters can affect the power quality of an electrical installation, it is recommended to measure and monitor power quality disturbances, especially harmonics and imbalances.

When integrating local sources, such as a photovoltaic system, into a building’s electrical installation, control functions are often required. These functions mainly depend on the local sources available, the contract with the local energy supplier and the type of installation: grid-connected, microgrid or off-grid.For example, for an installation with grid-connected PV production, the necessary control functions may include:

  • Limiting photovoltaic power generation so that energy is not pumped into the grid
  • Control of the power factor at the point of connection to the grid to avoid penalties
  • Shifting the load over the period of PV production to maximize self-consumption
  • Participating in demand response, especially if storage units or generators are also part of the plant

Advanced cloud-based analytics optimize the use of local power sources, resulting in additional savings.
Considering additional criteria such as changes in electricity rates, weather forecasts and expected consumption, advanced analytics provide the optimal system configuration. The setpoint for each local source is then transmitted to the local control system.

To learn more about PV plant monitoring recommendations, contact us at [email protected].

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