Solar efficiency: are defective panels hurting your bottom line?
The solar industry is booming, yet plant operators are being affected by underperforming panels. To earn a profit in this global, dynamic market, solar farm managers must answer an important question: how can you ensure your solar array is working well?
Normally, Operations and Maintenance (O&M) teams periodically check performance, usually by analyzing the graphs on the monitoring solution and sampling a portion of your plant’s panels. But this can be expensive, and won’t give you a detailed account of all your panels. If unsampled panels are defective, or something goes wrong outside of testing, your profits start to shrink. And expired warranties only makes things worse.
At Raycatch, we believe there’s a better way.
DeepSolar from Raycatch gives you daily diagnostics on all your solar panels. Using sophisticated AI technology, DeepSolar tells you where defective panels are and what’s wrong with them. We’ll then work with you to create a recovery strategy that aligns with your business goals – either helping you claim under warranty, repair faults, or replace panels and strings.
DeepSolar could grow your revenue 2-7%, as well as saving you 12-20% on O&M costs. Already, we’ve helped one of our clients replace 20% of their panels absolutely free. Optimising your solar plant ensures your getting value for money, but more importantly, helps maximise profit in an industry working hard to make the world a better place.
Due to the fast growing of solar energy installations in the world, the operators need to maximise the output of their panels, or risk underperforming. An inefficient solar farm reduces returns on investment, endangers market share, and restricts expansion. It’s crystal clear that understanding solar efficiency is vital – the question is, how successful has your monitoring strategy been?
Operations and Maintenance (O&M) teams can only do so much with limited budgets. How often do you run I-V tests on your panels and strings? Once, maybe twice per year? Plus a diagnostic if output drops significantly?
Given the pressure to keep costs low, it’s unsurprising that O&M teams test just a few times a year, and in many cases, only test a sample of components. We’ve seen testing of 1-5 MW solar farms using samples of just 20-100 panels. There’s a global shortage of solar engineering talent, and consequently, labour costs are high.
But what if you could do daily diagnostic tests on all your panels, automatically, for a fraction of the cost of O&M testing? What if you could use this information to repair or replace defective panels – even strings – before they impact performance? That’s exactly what DeepSolar does.
DeepSolar conducts daily diagnostic testing on your entire solar array without the need for extra hardware or staff. We gather plant performance data from your sensors, combine it with metadata, and normalise it for temperature, irradiance, dust, pollen, shading, and other sources of “noise”. This gives us virtual I-V curves that are as robust as those taken under laboratory conditions. We then correlate the data with physical and electrical models and process the results through our AI algorithm to give a full diagnostic report of your array’s performance.
Light induced degradation (LID) is an inevitable consequence of the technology most solar farms employ, and potential induced degradation (PID) can also be an issue in some installations (you are welcome to read about it in our next blog). But neither LID nor PID should affect your bottom line. Frequent, regular monitoring and fast remediation ensure your panels are working at their best, all year round.
We can pinpoint defects to an individual string, saving hours of diagnostic testing, and determine how much lost power you could restore, and how to recover it in the most economical way. We diagnose exactly what kind of fault the panel is experiencing, whether it’s sun exposure, poor coatings, or microcracks, and help you prioritise which problems need dealt with first to meet your plant’s targets.
The solar industry is rife with players, and to get ahead, your panels need to be at the top of their game. That means understanding, on a deeper level, how well your panels are performing all the time.
To discuss how DeepSolar can improve the efficiency of your solar array, please get in touch.