As we all know, the Energy Industry is under big transformation considering “Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) is a Federal Government policy designed to ensure that at least 33,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020.” Clean Energy Council. Hence the number of renewable energy power plants and investments are increasing drastically which require an efficient planning of operation and maintenance management to meet guarantee requirements, to increase the economic life of your plant and maximize your revenue. It is very important to know your system`s KPIs to be on track and to achieve the best outcome from your solar power plant investment.
Here is the most important KPIs
1) The Performance Ratio is one of the most important parameters to monitor your solar power plant efficiency. Performance ratio is the ratio between actual production and theoretical production of your plant. This metric will help you to compare your power production regardless of locations. Identifying deviation in PR will show the efficiency and the quality of solar power production. The actual solar production is calculated by using irradiance data which comes from site measuring sensors. These sensors are installed to the same orientation of the PV module to measure correctly. There are some factors that affect PR values and need to be considered. Some of them are temperature of the PV module,solar irradiation, power dissipation, shaded sensor and PV, failure of sensor, wrong orientation of sensor, efficiency of PV modules, inverters, energy losses in the system etc.
2) Capacity Factor is the ratio between the actual production and maximum ideal production over a period. This parameter indicates how long your plant actively produces over a defined period and looking into affecting factors like cloudy days, device failures etc.
3) Deviation Between Actual and Expected Production: Another method to identify the efficiency of the system is to compare the actual production vs expected production. Expected production is calculated by using weather forecast data over a period. Weather forecast data comes from weather stations in solar power plants. The quality of weather data will affect the calculations. The data quality depends on the location of weather stations and the distance between them. The location of weather station should not be close enough to PV panel which lead shaded areas causing the loss in the production.
4) Inverter Efficiency: Solar power plant produces energy in DC power, but it should be converted to AC power via inverters. Hence, the efficiency of inverter will directly affect your plant performance because, the conversion from DC to AC can lead in energy losses depending on the clipping of inverters. This happens when DC power is higher than the rated power of the inverter.
5) Power Factor is a good indication to get insight about the health of your system and to meet grid requirements which could be subject to penalties. Power factor represents the relationship between real and apparent power.
6) Efficient Work Force Management: will provide fast response to failures and saves time& money for all stakeholders. Response time is as critical as identifying failures or malfunctions in the system. The Coordination of site people and follow up of issues need to be tracked. Reduction in response time should be targeted. Type of tickets will enable to maintain control over issues.
Overall, achieving the efficiency in operation and maintenance management will lead the reduction of ROI in your solar power plant investment, maximize your revenue. Please contact us to know more, just click on Contact