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30. January 2017

Solar-Log™ in India – an Interview with Nikhil Nahar (Director, SolarSquare Energy Private Limited)

What are your experiences with Solar-Log™ products and services?

SolarSquare Energy has been one of the early adopters of Solar-Log™ in India. In our multi-MW portfolio, Solar-Log™ has reduced O&M hassles by helping us identify specific site-issues and comprehensive analytics assist us in making informed decisions so that we can meet our plant performance obligations. Solar-Log™ is truly unique in its ability to relate to a developer's position in understanding the functionality and analytics of solar plants, something in which we have experienced. Together, Solar-Log™ and Sensor Box Professional Plus offer a bouquet of online services such as user-management, plant-analytics, issue-notifications, and dedicated smartphone-apps, which makes the system a state-of-the-art, user-friendly solution. 

Has the Solar-Log™ monitoring platform increased efficiency and has it improved your O&M related services?

Making use of Solar-Log™, a leading German-engineered product, as a part of our installations has brought reliability and efficiency in SolarSquare Energy's plant monitoring. Quantifying various losses, such as string-mismatch loss and down-time-generation loss, has become a lot easier with five minute-wise data available on the portal. Email notifications filter for errors, warnings, and alerts, which enable us to optimize resource-mobilization plans based on the severity of the reported issue. These features have contributed to tangible and intangible benefits, like saved time and optimized costs, through better resource management.  

What about the Solar-Log™ compatibility list and integration support, how do you evaluate this service and how would you like to rate our support services in India?

One of the most important criteria for choosing Solar-Log™ was its compatibility with the most inverter manufacturers across the globe. This brought us platform-independence in monitoring, as Solar-Log™ provided us with quality data in a uniform format even though it originated from different sources of inverter makes and models. Granularity of data, simplicity in data-exporting, and next-generation data-intelligence assists us with better assessments of installed solar assets through platform consolidation. The support from the Solar-Log™ sales and service team has been exemplary as well. Regular training sessions and prompt ticketing service is backed by their German team and has helped the SolarSquare team in utilizing the most of Solar-Log™.  

Why do you feel that Solar-Log™ is a suitable platform for rooftop power plant monitoring?

Usually rooftop power projects are scattered geographically in Tier-1 to Tier-3 cities. Typically, their project sizes range from 50 kW to a few hundred kW, which makes allocating dedicated on-site resources for such projects economically unviable. This is where Solar-Log™ platforms become handy in off-shouldering the burden of the extra-investments. If consistent and quality internet access is provisioned at each site, the job of managing even small capacity solar assets becomes feasible.

Do you have some experience with the Solar-Log™ functions and features for Feed-in Management and related benefits? 

No, not at the moment. But it is good to know that we are prepared for possible future grid requirements such as 0% feed-in.

How do you evaluate the payback on Solar-Log™ monitoring devices?

The trade-off analysis is done in NPV terms with regards to investments in the monitoring device's hardware and software costs against the costs of dedicated resources on-site or traveling and accommodation cost of the off-shore resources. Lost generation in the absence of issue-notifications is another criteria to evaluate the payback period. Typically, the payback period is around 4-4.5 years.  

What is the future plan of SolarSquare Energy with Solar-Log™?

SolarSquare Energy plans to standardize Solar-Log™ as it's monitoring partner for multi-MW installations planned across various cities in India. With a specialized central network and operational team, SolarSquare Energy plans to be aggressive in increasing collaboration handoffs between engineering and O&M members. Through an extensive use of Solar-Log™ plant monitoring capabilities, SolarSquare Energy will form our tools towards effective solar asset management.

Please feel free to provide us with suggestions on future development.

Firstly, Solar-Log™ may consider further enhancement of its features through an addition of O&M scheduling, suggestive-diagnostics, and predictive-performance-analytics to form an all-in-one asset management platform. Secondly, from a partner-localization perspective, we suggest Solar-Log™ integrates with local players on string monitoring, metering, and feed-in-management products. Finally, integration of high-accuracy irradiation sensors/Pyranometers and integration of reliable weather & geography-specific irradiation data through data-sourcing partners would be a definite added value.

About SolarSquare Energy

SolarSquare Energy partners with large organisations to support them in meeting their sustainability goals. With vision to make clean energy accessible and affordable, SolarSquare Energy delivers green advantage through state of the art solutions using disruptive business models, world-class technologies and unmatched serviceability. With its multi MW portfolio, SolarSquare Energy operates on the principles of zero-risk and zero-hassles at the epicentre of it's core values.