Solar String Analysis Identifies 1-2 Underperformance Issues Per MW at Utility-Scale Solar Farms
CHARLOTTE, NC (April 5, 2017) – To tackle the problem of determining real-world photovoltaic plant reliability and performance, Affinity Energy released Solar String Analysis, a temporary data collection, analysis, and reporting service. Going further than typical zone monitoring, Solar String Analysis provides detailed string analytics and helps owner/operators determine if they’re on track to meet pro forma energy requirements.
According to data collected and analyzed through Affinity Energy’s Solar String Analysis system, the average site has 1-2 significant problems per MW. The service improves PV system and O&M activities by enhancing the data needed to make critical decisions about maintenance to ensure long-term plant viability and financial reliability.
“We want to help owners achieve their plant’s optimum financial fitness,” said Adam Baker, Solar Specialist and Senior Sales Executive at Affinity Energy. “It’s my experience that at least one string per inverter has issues, and if we could improve energy yield by just 1% on a 10MW site, that would recover $10,000 in lost revenue per year, every year, for the life of the plant.”
An analysis derived from combiner box data explains which components are underperforming, and likely causes, such as:
- Loose or broken MC4 connectors
- Soiling/dirt accumulation
- Module shading from various sources (trees, transmission lines, row to row, etc.)
- Blown fuses
- Cracked cells
- Effects due to terrain
A detailed string monitoring snapshot can be particularly useful when nearing the end of the installer’s warranty period. Finding problems that justify warranty repairs will save the owner cost in O&M operations, as well as maximize the site’s revenue in the long term.
“Solar site commissioning breezes through a single measurement per string at a moment in time,” says Baker. “Owners should instead rely on an apples to apples report of string current that gives them possible reasons their site isn’t running as well as it could.”
Because Solar String Analysis is non-invasive and temporary in nature, the cost and risk to monitor strings are reduced, but the owner still benefits from a comparison of all inputs in identical conditions.
About Affinity Energy
Affinity Energy is a control systems integrator with a national portfolio of over 800 power automation projects and a rich depth of expertise working with mission critical facilities, distributed generation plants, energy companies, engineering firms, and construction contractors who seek open, turnkey systems for power management and energy optimization. Providing systems and services in the design and build phases of new construction and retrofit projects, Affinity Energy uses its industry-specific background to help customers throughout the U.S. operate efficiently, safely and, reliably. Founded in 2002, Affinity Energy is headquartered in Charlotte, NC. For more information, visit Affinity Energy at www.affinityenergy.com.
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