Blog & News

Blog & News

NEWS

First Critical Facilities EcoXpert Partner in the Carolinas, Affinity Energy Certified by Schneider Electric

August 8, 2017

  Newest EcoXpert Partner Affinity Energy has proven its ability to help customers manage energy costs and optimize electrical equipment…

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Affinity Energy Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary

June 1, 2017

Niche, minority-owned control systems integrator reaches milestone. Press Release CHARLOTTE, NC (June 1, 2017) – Affinity Energy is today celebrating…

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Affinity Energy Wins Charlotte Crowns of Enterprise, MBE of the Year Award

May 18, 2017

Minority-owned control systems integrator recognized by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Press Release CHARLOTTE, NC (May 18, 2017)…

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Affinity Energy Releases Solar String Analysis to Help Determine Real-World PV Reliability and Performance

April 5, 2017
Solar String Analysis - Checking for Issues

Solar String Analysis Identifies 1-2 Underperformance Issues Per MW at Utility-Scale Solar Farms Press Release CHARLOTTE, NC (April 5, 2017)…

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Accelerating Customer Controls Projects,
Affinity Energy Certifies in Fiber Termination

January 17, 2017
Fiber Optic Termination

Affinity Energy now able to troubleshoot the entire customer fiber data communications path Press Release CHARLOTTE, NC (January 17, 2017)…

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Affinity Energy Joins Connected with Kepware System Integrator Program

December 1, 2016
Kepware System Integrator

Affinity Energy Joins Connected with Kepware System Integrator Program Press Release CHARLOTTE, NC (December 1, 2016) – Affinity Energy, a leading…

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Control System Integrator Affinity Energy Named One of
North Carolina’s Top 100

October 10, 2016
Affinity Energy Wins Grant Thornton North Carolina Award

Control System Integrator Affinity Energy Named One of North Carolina’s Top 100 – Press Release CHARLOTTE, NC (October 10, 2016)…

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Affinity Automation Rebrands to Affinity Energy

June 1, 2016
Affinity Energy Logo

Affinity Automation Rebrands to Affinity Energy – Press Release CHARLOTTE, NC (Jun 1, 2016) – Affinity Energy (formerly Affinity Automation)…

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BLOG

Solar Eclipse 2017: Slow Ramping Reduces Impact to Solar Farms

August 14, 2017

By: Adam Baker Why solar eclipse 2017 isn’t the end of the world for utility-scale owners and operators. The upcoming…

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Go Through the ISA-101 HMI Lifecycle Before Partnering with a System Integrator

August 8, 2017

  HMI design is trending toward a collaborative effort between owner, end user, and integrator. By: Allan Evora An HMI…

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PV Safety: Electrical Safety Tips for Utility-Scale Solar

August 1, 2017

By: Adam Baker We’ve been on our share of solar sites. Here’s how we keep safe during PV projects. We…

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Chiller Plant Efficiency, and Other Medical Campus Central Energy Plant KPIs You Should Be Tracking

July 25, 2017

Key KPIs for efficient long-term energy plant management. By: Shashank Navaratna and Allan Evora KPIs, or key performance indicators, show…

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Easily Detect PV Underperformance

July 18, 2017

By: Adam Baker It all comes down to improving data displayed in HMIs. I recently wrote an article published in…

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Designing for Situational Awareness and High-Performance HMIs

July 11, 2017

HMI best practices to improve operator efficiency Today’s traditional HMIs are thought of as highly sophisticated. But they’re actually inundated…

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Using a Real-Time Automation Controller (SEL RTAC) as a Utility-Scale Plant Controller

July 6, 2017

By: Adam Baker SEL RTAC is no longer just a data concentrator. Schweitzer Engineering Lab’s (SEL) RTAC. It originally was…

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SCADA’s Biggest Costs

June 27, 2017

By: Allan Evora What makes SCADA cost what it does? I recently wrote an article published on the CSIA Exchange…

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KPIs and Solar Metrics to Track in Utility-Scale Solar

June 20, 2017
Solar Metrics

By: Adam Baker Calculating solar metrics to improve solar performance. Key performance indicators (KPIs) help quantify if your solar asset…

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How IIoT Changes SCADA: Interview with a System Integrator

June 13, 2017

IIoT integrates operational and business systems for better process management There’s a lot of discussion about IIoT, or the Industrial…

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6 Ways a Fully Integrated Solar Panel Tracker Can Optimize a PV Plant

June 6, 2017

By: Adam Baker Manage DC voltage, wash your panels, and double the life of your bearings by simply integrating your…

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An Interview with Allan Evora,
Affinity Energy President & Control Systems Integrator

May 31, 2017

Learning a bit more about the people that make Affinity Energy tick. For more Q&A with Allan, check out his…

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Think You Need an EPMS System? Read This First

May 23, 2017

By: Allan Evora Who are the best candidates for an EPMS system? Depending on the level of detailed information your…

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5 Ways to Avoid Solar Downtime & Energy Loss Using Controls & Monitoring

May 15, 2017
Solar Downtime is Almost Always Preventable

By: Adam Baker SCADA systems can help prevent curtailment, overheated inverters, and tracker malfunctions. When solar downtime occurs, the last…

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What a Sunken Ship Teaches Us About Failed SCADA Projects

May 8, 2017
5 reasons SCADA projects fail

By: Bradley Mull 5 reasons SCADA projects fail. Isn’t the whole point of history to teach us how to learn…

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What is Freelance Data Monitoring, and Does It Makes Sense For Your Solar Site?

May 2, 2017
What is Freelance Data Monitoring?

By: Adam Baker Meaningful results of what’s actually going on in your DC collection system. I wanted to discuss a…

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What is an EPMS?

April 25, 2017
What is EPMS?

By: Allan Evora EPMS provides the feedback facilities need to reduce inefficiencies related to power delivery and energy consumption. Electricity…

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Top 7 Most Popular Blogs About Solar SCADA

April 18, 2017
Most Loved Solar SCADA Posts

By: Adam Baker Our most-loved solar SCADA blog posts. We’ve published over 50 blog posts on a variety of subjects,…

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Modbus Gateway: Integrating Legacy Modbus Serial Devices Into a Modern SCADA System

April 11, 2017
Modbus Gateway

By: Allan Evora The best way to integrate Modbus RTU to TCP protocol is through a Modbus gateway. Today I…

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Top 7 Most Popular SCADA Blog Articles

April 4, 2017
Our Most Loved SCADA Articles

By: Allan Evora Our most-loved SCADA blog posts We’ve published over 50 blog posts on a variety of subjects, ranging…

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10 Ways to Design a Smart Landfill Gas Monitoring System
to Optimize ROI and Performance

March 28, 2017
10 Landfill Gas SCADA Monitoring Tips

By: Allan Evora SCADA Can Be Used to Trend, Analyze, and Tweak Performance Landfill gas operators with many pieces of…

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Why Landfill Gas Needs SCADA Waste to Energy Technology

March 22, 2017
Why is SCADA Important in Waste to Energy?

By: Allan Evora Owners and operators need simple visualization and control of each landfill gas process from a single location.…

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Solar Tracker Monitoring: You’re Doing It Wrong

March 14, 2017
Solar Tracker Monitoring - Too Much Data

By: Adam Baker Stop paying extra for a bunch of useless data you don’t need. From an integration standpoint, controlling…

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The Correct Way to Specify and Install Current Transformers

March 7, 2017
Current Transformer - Best Practices

By: Allan Evora Demystifying the Confusion Around Which CT to Use. We find that a lot of installers and end…

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Experiment: Are US Utility Scale Plants In Danger of Not Meeting Financial Contracts?

February 28, 2017
String Monitoring - Is It Worth It?

By: Adam Baker Case Study in Freelance String Monitoring Shows Utility-Scale Solar Sites Don’t Have the Correct Info to Identify…

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Together, IT and Facility System Integration Can Master DCOI

February 21, 2017
DCOI Requires IT Integrators & System Integrators

By: Pruitt Hall and Allan Evora What We Can Learn From The Government’s Data Center (DCOI) Consolidation Initiative. As of…

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Bad DC Health is Costing Solar Plant Owners

February 14, 2017
What's Your Effective DC/AC Ratio?

By: Adam Baker Solar Owners Don’t Know Their Site’s Effective DC/AC Ratio. The entire reason to install a solar farm…

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My Solar SCADA Wish List: Basic Architecture

February 7, 2017
I&C Wish List

By: Adam Baker Better I&C to Improve Plant Performance Tracking. I’ve never walked onto a solar site and thought, “Congratulations!…

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My Solar SCADA Wish List: HMI Features

January 30, 2017
HMI Wish List

By: Adam Baker 4 important considerations when designing the visualization of a monitoring system The point of a SCADA system…

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Why Your I&C Vendor Should Double as Your Fiber Optic Tester & Terminator

January 24, 2017
Fiber Termination and Instrumentation and Controls

By: Zack Smith The value of fiber termination completed by a controls system integrator Fiber has three main pros that…

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Which Solar Power Inverter is Better? String or Central?

January 17, 2017
String inverter or central inverter?

By: Adam Baker Pros and cons on solar power inverters from an instrumentation viewpoint I’m just going to go right…

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10 Reasons to Upgrade Your SCADA Control System

January 10, 2017
10 Reasons to Upgrade SCADA

By: Allan Evora Evaluate your existing SCADA control system for improvements and you may wind up saving. In my experience,…

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How Monitoring Can Help You Get Better Solar Insurance Rates

December 15, 2016
SCADA & PV Solar Insurance

By: Adam Baker The secret to utility-scale solar insurance for when the sun doesn’t shine. California’s upcoming partial solar eclipse…

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How to Choose a PLC for Your Next Controls Project:
Advice from a Control System Integrator

November 30, 2016
How to Choose a PLC

By: Allan Evora How to Choose a PLC: Pros and Cons of 3 Popular Vendors Programmable logic controllers (PLC) give…

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Multi-Circuit Submetering: A Cost-Effective Solution for Electrical Load Profiling of Hospital Emergency Power Supply System Loads

November 9, 2016
Managing Load Creep and Load Profile

By: Zack Smith & Allan Evora ATS multi-circuit metering helps effectively manage load creep. Emergency Power Supply Systems (EPSS) are…

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SCADA Is Not The Same As Solar Data Performance Analysis

November 1, 2016
Solar Data: SCADA, Controls, or Performance Analysis?

By: Adam Baker Solar data performance analysis helps answer the “why” of low site performance. Three distinct systems work together…

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1 Simple Strategy to Update Your Data Center Device Maintenance Processes

October 25, 2016
Device Maintenance in Data Centers

By: Mike Kalkas Stop forgetting regular preventative device maintenance. As an integrator, I’m concerned with trying to ensure my customers…

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Data Backup:
The Info Nearly Every Data Center Should (but Doesn’t) Backup

October 18, 2016
SCADA Data Backup

By: Duane Beyer and Mike Kalkas Disaster recovery happens in IT, but is often overlooked or improperly implemented in OT Remember…

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Smart SCADA Alarm Management Part 3
9 Best Practices

October 12, 2016
SCADA Alarm

By: Allan Evora & Adam Baker Top methodologies to ensure system alarms are properly acknowledged and responded to in a timely…

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Automate Your Emergency Generator Testing to Meet Joint Commission Standards

September 27, 2016
Emergency Generator Testing

By: Allan Evora Remove the need for manual scheduling, testing, verification, retesting, and documentation. Hospitals are looking for ways to…

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5 Unique Challenges in Utility Scale Solar Projects

September 20, 2016
Issues the Solar Industry Must Conquer to Survive

By: Adam Baker Problems the solar industry must overcome to survive There are five very specific challenges in utility scale…

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Smart SCADA Alarm Management Part 2:
Prioritizing Alarms

September 14, 2016
Stop Operator Apathy by Prioritizing Alarms

By: Allan Evora & Adam Baker Not all alarms carry same weight, and not everyone should receive alarms. Unfortunately, SCADA alarm…

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Why Medical Campus Central Utility Plants Should Use PLC
Not DDC Controls

September 7, 2016
PLC or DDC? Pay Now or Later

By: Allan Evora Comparing DDC Controls to PLC at Hospital Energy Plants: PLC Wins Every Time Unlike other mission-critical facilities…

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Nitty Gritty: Get Granular with Utility Scale PV Plant Data

August 31, 2016
Does Your Data Give You Enough Visibility?

By: Adam Baker 15-Minute Averages Aren’t Giving Operators Enough Visibility into Solar Farm Operation Having cut my professional teeth in…

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Avoid the “Too Much Data, Not Enough Information”
Solar HMI SCADA Scenario

August 25, 2016
Too Much SCADA Data, Not Enough Info

Data for the sake of data is not beneficial in solar farm operation. If you can’t tell what’s going on…

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5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Control System Integrator

August 18, 2016
Control System Integrator

Looking for someone to install SCADA, PLCs, or an EPMS? Read this first. Finding the right control system integrator can…

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Smart SCADA Alarm Management Part 1:
Alarms are Only for Actionable Conditions

August 15, 2016
SCADA Alarm and Operator Apathy

By: Allan Evora & Adam Baker Too much SCADA alarm noise means operator apathy and missed critical alarms. Design of alarm…

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Don’t Base Solar Site Performance Off Misleading Facts.
Normalize Data Instead.

August 2, 2016
Compare Solar Data for Data Normalization

By: Adam Baker Compare apples to apples when analyzing solar site performance data. Many solar plant owners base their plant performance…

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7 Reasons to Use Modular Integration and Object Oriented Design in Data Centers

July 20, 2016
Object Oriented Design

By: Mike Kalkas Don’t reinvent the wheel; use object oriented design for increased maintainability and sustainability. Today’s growing gaps due…

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Too Many Useless Data Points = Inefficient Solar Farm Operation

July 12, 2016
Use a Historian to Avoid Cluttered Data

By: Adam Baker Two is Better Than One. Combine the Power of Historians and SQL Databases to Run Your Utility-Scale…

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Submetering Specification Part 3: Rate Structures

July 5, 2016

By: Allan Evora When selecting a meter, how you get billed is just as important as what you want to…

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Submetering Specification Part 2: Installation

June 27, 2016
Rope Current Transformer

By: Allan Evora Many different considerations can affect the overall cost of submeter installation. One size does not fit all…

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How Long Does SCADA Implementation Take?

June 21, 2016
How Long Does SCADA Take?

By: Dan Curlin Understanding your project’s timeframe for the SCADA implementation process, and tips on how to shorten it. As…

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Submetering Specification Part 1: Understanding Your Goals

June 16, 2016
Submeter with Display

By: Allan Evora Ensure you get the right submeter by first examining your objectives. Submetering is an excellent way to transfer…

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Don’t Fear Industrial Wireless Integration in Solar

June 8, 2016

By: Zack Smith Industrial wireless’s reliable cost-effective nature makes perfect sense in utility-scale solar. Many solar industry veterans have a…

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PV Voltage Control Negates Inductor/Capacitor Bank Interconnect Agreement Requirements

May 23, 2016

By: Adam Baker Solar Developers: Make Your PV Project Viable Again UPDATE JANUARY 2017: Check out CAISO & NREL’s 2017…

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This instrumentation blog covers the latest information information, news, tips, and tricks on SCADA, EPMS, PLC, controls, and monitoring for the power and energy industries. Specifically, mission critical industries that have high-intensity power usage, such as data centers, hospital central utility plants, and utility-scale solar farms.

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