This article originally appeared in SolareB2B, page 40.
In June 2013 Alectris installed its monitoring system, ACTIS, on four solar power plants in the province of Puglia, Italy of 1MWP each. The plants suffered from serious problems originating from poor initial design and component performance. In a few months since Alectris took over the portfolio’s solar operations and maintenance (O&M) activities, it has registered a yield optimization of +38%.
This solar portfolio was installed between 2010 and 2011. After a few months of their connection to the network, the plants encountered incidents which caused plant stops, dramatically affecting the productivity and economic return on investment.
Between 2010 and 2011, Italy experienced a construction boom in solar installations, which was a result of investor interest driven by high government incentives. Several plants were made very quickly and with a rough design. In addition, the lack of experience of some EPC’s concerning solar O&M has further complicated the situation. When called to correct the installation with the resulting fix financially (as in this case), many EPC’s have failed. For these reasons, in mid-2013 these four plants were severely underperforming.
The client commissioned Alectris to troubleshoot, test and restore full operation of the solar parks. These activities included engineering, solar O&M and asset management services. The company has now installed its monitoring system ACTIS, which in a short time, tracked down the various anomalies that included module and inverter failures. Timely intervention has returned the solar parks to regular activity and a significant increase in performance.
First, Alectris installed its system ACTIS, Asset Control Telemetry Information System, which is an integrated solar asset management and monitoring platform.
The system collects all available data concerning the functioning of the installations including every component, allowing the client to track any kind of performance issue. This results in precise and rapid control of the solar portfolio.
After the installation of ACTIS, the Alectris team performed an in depth investigation of design and construction deficiencies of the plants, in order to highlight variations and bring the plants to stable and satisfactory levels of performance.
After a few months, the availability factor i.e. the amount of net time during which the system is able to produce electricity in a certain period, was increased and stabilized from the initial 70% up to 98%. The performance ratio (PR) measuring the efficiency of a photovoltaic system, has stabilized at over 82%.
More energy resulting in more revenues was achieved with these solar O&M activities. Comparing the same period June to December 2012 and 2013 on equal levels of radiation, ACTIS and the system installation by Alectris, produced on average 20% more energy with great benefits in economic terms, in the order of about 60,000 euros a year for each plant.
Michele Romanin, Jacur, General Manager GRU.CO. S.r.l., commented, “Alectris took steps to immediately improve energy production of the photovoltaic systems. The benefits were substantial, significant and durable. After working together for over a year I must say I am very pleased.”
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