technician checking solar panels on factory roof

Should Solar Power Plants Outsource the Asset Management of Their Systems?

The need for solar energy has been steadily increasing for years. The burning of fossil fuels, increasing cost of electricity, and depletion of the natural environment have all led to a collective demand for a change in the status quo. That’s why solar power plants have begun excavating and researching sites to harness power for a more responsible source of energy. But the growth of the solar industry also highlights the need to outsource its asset management in a bid to maximize financial opportunities and ensure the long-term health of the infrastructure.

Most are using SCADA systems for solar power plants. A supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system is one that helps operators control the solar power plant even from a remote location. This modernization of the solar power plant allows the system to shut down vulnerable sections of the plant when there are inconsistencies in the data. This prevents accidents and the escalation of existing problems.

In an article in Solar Power World, Raja Soi, vice president of asset management at Soltage, said that well-managed solar assets boost the energy production, efficiency, and revenue of a power plant. There are two kinds of asset management needed by solar plants: physical asset management and traditional asset management.

In physical asset management, the manager must have the technical knowledge to know if a system or equipment is underperforming. If a system underperforms, this reduces the chance for revenue and increases the expenses associated with maintaining the system. Traditional asset management refers to the financial and operational aspects of the solar power plant. It concerns itself with the operations and maintenance of the systems to quickly diagnose any disarraying functions that could affect the overall behavior of the power plant.

Maximize Energy Production

One of the most crucial steps in managing the assets of a solar power plant is optimizing the existing physical systems. Outsourcing the management of assets will allow for the better monitoring of meter malfunctions, miscalculated PPA rates, and erroneous audit statements, all of which lead to a loss in revenue for the solar power plant. With a sound management practice put in place, these problems can be deterred and the plant can refocus on producing energy. In the case of solar rebates and incentives regulations, capitalize on financial opportunities to increase the revenue-generating feature of the power plant.

Asset managers also fully understand renewable energy credits (RECs) for solar tax incentives and PPA rates. Planning for solar rebates should be done proactively. Managers should take special care in meeting deadlines to increase revenue opportunities.

Reduce Maintenance Costs

rows of solar panels

The proactive monitoring of problems and issues that affect the systems and assets will ensure that there is a reduced cost on maintenance. Instead of addressing the problems when they have already been blown out of proportion and reached other parts of the system, asset managers can deal with the problems the moment they appear in the system. The use of SCADA, for example, allows for the control of the whole power plant system from a remote and safe location.

You should look for an asset manager who’s familiar with the system you currently have employed in the solar power plant. The manager should have the expertise to handle the plant’s operations. They should also have the know-how on finding the right solutions for the plant’s existing and future problems.