By Ishan Chaturvedi, Co-Founder and Director of Vareyn Solar
About a decade ago, Solar PV monitoring was done using large-scale SCADA systems. These massive systems used to take up entire rooms in set up and the monitoring was fairly restrictive as compared to the options we have today.
Today Solar PV plant monitoring is done through specialised data loggers and advanced software. Thus, maintaining Solar PV plants has be-come increasingly easier owing to technological advancements. From drones combined with thermal imaging to the robotics cleaning crew for large-scale solar PV plants, monitoring is constantly evolving for the cleaning and maintenance of solar PV plants.
India is on a quest to achieve the solar energy target of 100 GW by 2022. Worldwide as well, solar power is witnessing increased acceptance and application. For the same, technological advancements for maintaining solar PV plants are also witnessing a positive growth.
A decade back, when the solar program was just launched in India, the SCADA systems could monitor the plant with weather monitoring stations including Irradiation Sensor and Wind Speed Sensor to gather data with onsite computers. Monitoring today is capable of all this and much more!
With modern methods and advanced software, the monitoring systems are rendered with the ability to gather accurate weather data to inform beforehand of any upcoming adverse weather conditions, string level monitoring, Solar Panel Level monitoring and Panel Health checks. These systems can analyze the data and prescribe cleaning patterns and report live cleaning data to help improve areas of solar PV plants which require cleaning more often than others. This bifurcation of data and forecast of plant health helps in streamlining maintenance before-hand and prevent any loss of energy.
Besides having in-house maintenance, with the help of modern monitoring EPCs like Vareyn Solar, Solar PV plants are in good hands. EPCs for monitoring ensure that their clients can achieve better energy management and planning. As the monitoring systems, today are not just capable of informing plant generation data but also checking live energy consumption and failures, it gives a more holistic approach to the maintenance of the plant that not just deals with what is happening right now but also prepares and informs the clients about future steps to ensure longevity.
The data at hand via modern monitoring systems give the clients a better understanding of their load patterns and how they can leverage the same for savings through solar generation. Thus, preparing a POA for future consumption as well.
Security, Sustainability, Bird Control, shadow area etc are a few more silos in which IT helps in solar PV plant monitoring. IT-powered AI, advanced robotics and machine learning help in monitoring the solar power installation sites both on a large and small scale. This in turn helps in the widespread adoption of solar energy with hassle-free, unmanned solu-tions in place for regular maintenance.