SgurrEnergy undertakes the technical management of the Projects in accordance with recognised business principles and industry practice. Technical management services are in compliance with all legal regulations and permits, in addition to any prevailing engineer procure construct (EPC) and service and maintenance agreements, guarantees, warranties, power purchase and interconnection agreements.
Prior to the commencement of the Technical Asset Management Services, SgurrEnergy ensures that the systems for the management of the Project sites are effectively set-up:
- Familiarise ourselves with the relevant technical aspects of the Project, including but not limited to technical issues in the past.
- Organise the hand-over process from the outgoing provider including, but not limited to; the hand-over of documents (soft and hardcopies) and access to the Project.
- Organise and attend site visits with the outgoing provider to occur before the handover and provide an issue report to the Client.
- Organise access to the Project remote monitoring systems.
- Setup our independent Performance System.
SgurrEnergy assigns experienced personnel in order to provide its technical knowledge, its market experience as well as its contacts with authorities, suppliers, manufacturers and service companies to suggest optimisation opportunities for the Project, in order to give advice and make suggestions on how to prevent damages to the assets and also how to achieve an optimal operating result.
Scheduled maintenance outages by the facility manager is checked, monitored and will be completed during low irradiation periods if reasonably possible.
SgurrEnergy conducts its technical asset
management under the following broad scopes;
Performance monitoring comprises of the following aspects;
A. Detailed Energy Assessment
SgurrEnergy performs a detailed performance monitoring of the asset to be managed; by conducting a detailed energy yield analysis reported on a monthly basis. The analysis shall essentially include the following:
Energy Assessment at 15-second to 1-minute interval:
Based on the as-built plant design incorporating all operational losses, the assessment is conducted at three broad levels •®•®••;
- PV Array Level
- Inverter Level
- System Level
Performance Metric Comparison:
Based on the results of the assessment conducted, SgurrEnergy arrives at performance metrics including Performance Ratio (PR), Capacity Utilisation Factor (CUF) and Energy Generation figures which are used for comparison between;
- Measured Metrics v/s Expected Metrics
- Guaranteed Metrics v/s Measured Metrics
The above detailed energy yield assessment shall aid the Client in understanding;
- The expected generation with respect to the actual onsite weather conditions and physical parameters of the components used in the Project.
- Conducting assessments at sub- hourly levels (15 second to 1 minute) effectively eliminates the bias caused due to abrupt changes in weather data such as temperature and irradiation; thereby, resulting in accurate comparisons.
- The comparison between expected and measured data shall be carried out for each component in the PV plant hierarchy (PV array, Inverters, Transformers and Plant End), which shall pin-point the under performing zones on which necessary mitigation shall be carried out using appropriate corrective actions.
- On comparison of the measured metrics with the expected metrics, the Client is able to comprehend the scope of performance improvement by applying the necessary corrective actions. This shall ensure consistent performance optimisation of the PV asset.
- Furthermore, on comparison of the measured metrics with the guaranteed metrics, the Client understands the shortfall in energy generation in conjunction with the root cause analysis of the same, thereby ensuring that the concerned entity is called to account for the same in order to cause no loss in profitability.
B. Equipment Operational Analysis
SgurrEnergy conducts a detailed performance analysis for each of the equipment installed on site. This includes, but not be limited to:
a. Array Level Analysis of the following major factors affecting the arrays installed at the PV plant;
- Degradation Analysis
- Temperature Impact on DC Power
b. Inverter Level Analysis includes the following key factors affecting inverter performance;
- Temperature de-rating
- Inverter Efficiency
- Clipping Losses
c. System Level Analysis captures the following aspects;
- Operational Active Power Trend
- Operational Reactive Power Trend
- Seasonal Variability in Energy Generation
- Auxiliary Consumption Analysis
The above assessment aids the Client in understanding the detailed performance of each component installed on site.
Based on the analysis, appropriate operation and maintenance schedules are optimised. Additionally, the results of these analysis also aid in understanding the underperformance of the equipment thereby necessitating the requirement of additional testing and diagnostics conducted annually, and further root cause analysis of the equipment’s underperformance.
The system level analysis will help in understanding the active and reactive power generated at the PV plant, the associated losses and the impact on the financials as a result of the losses. Furthermore, SgurrEnergy conducts an analysis to understand the seasonal variation and trends in active and reactive power requirement. Additionally, this data is used in load flow analysis to arrive at suitable mitigation measures.
In order to accurately assess the performance of a PV plant, it is of utmost importance to accurately record the downtime affecting various equipment installed on site. The downtime can broadly be classified into two major categories, Plant and Grid Downtime.
SgurrEnergy conducts a detailed assessment of the downtime occurring on site by conducting the following analysis;
Fault Pattern Recognition
SgurrEnergy shall source SCADA data recorded to understand the behaviour of the PV system under various working cycles. Accordingly, based on the weather data, physical modelling of the equipment and historical performance at site, trends and patterns are developed using machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques. The trends and patterns identified, are then fed to the control and monitoring unit implemented at site to foresee, predict and scrutinize possible failures beforehand.
Energy Loss Prediction
SgurrEnergy shall evaluate the energy loss caused due to plant and grid downtime events occurred, based on the capacity affected and the weather data for the breakdown period. The loss associated shall be incorporated in the monthly reports provided.
Root Cause Analysis for Faults Occurring on Site
Major breakdowns, if any, are evaluated for root cause and correlated with the data recorded at site. The fault pattern and thresholds are utilised in the control and monitoring unit to avoid repeating such failures.
Downtime analysis aids the Client with the following;
- Using fault pattern recognition, faults shall be predicted prior to occurrence and suitably a mitigation action is carried out to prevent equipment failure and the associated energy loss.
- For downtime events occurred, energy shortfall is calculated to understand the revenue loss due to the associated equipment.
- RCAs are included in the monthly reports for understanding major breakdowns occurring on site and suitably, the fault patterns in the control and monitoring unit are updated to avoid re-occurrence of such breakdown in the future.
SgurrEnergy conducts annual testing for the equipment installed at site. This testing shall include the following, but not limited to:
Thermal imaging is a technique to identify anomalies by displaying varying temperatures within a solar PV module. Large areas are scanned to understand the temperature variation in a short time span. Potential problem areas are detected and rectified before actual failures occur. Thermography is a safe, non-contact measurement method to check groups of circuits and solar panels. SgurrEnergy employs drone based aerial thermography for the Project site; however, if required, handheld thermography is conducted.
Following conditions may cause localised high temperature leading to under performance of plant section.
- Bypass diode failure
- Cell Damage / Multi – Cell damage
- Short Circuit Failure
- Solder bond failure
- Reverse bias cells
- Hot spots
- Poor connections
The test strings are identified on the basis of results of the analysis obtained from the performance monitoring done at the PV Plant.
IV Curve Testing
Analysis of the IV characteristics is a quick and effective process to assess the performance of the solar PV module / string. String level IV curve testing on strings to ascertain the deviation of the nameplate power with respect to the measured power. The electrical parameters obtained through the testing would essentially be used in determining the average degradation rate of the modules implemented at site.
The test strings are identified on the basis of results of the analysis obtained from the performance monitoring done at the PV Plant and sampling basis for understanding actual degradation occurring at site.
Electroluminescence (EL) Tests
EL tests, in addition to static thermography conducted on site, shall aid in understanding the physical defects of the modules installed, due to:
- Manufacturing Defects
- Damage due to transportation
- Damage due to improper installation
Defects such as micro-cracks caused as a result of the above mentioned issues are identified using EL testing.
Power Analyser is used to measure various electrical parameters to assess the following;
- Total Harmonic Distortion
- Characterisation of three phase power
- Power Quality Disturbance and Events such as;
- Voltage Variations
- Transient / Glitches
SgurrEnergy employs the use of a power analyser in order to ascertain the energy loss due to poor power quality in the PV system.
The results of the above testing and diagnostic procedures are adapted within the simulation and are used to mitigate the onset of faults caused as a result of the above mentioned defects within the fault pattern recognition algorithm.
Warranties are offered by equipment manufacturers to assure the performance of the product for a certain period as specified within the warranty terms and agreements. SgurrEnergy provides the following services in order to verify the adequacy of the warranties and the performance of the components under the same:
- Develop and implement an appropriate monitoring and sample check programme for the subcontracted services.
- Advise the Client on any deficiencies in the performance of third parties under contract with recommendations for corrective action, including, where necessitated by contract or performance recommendations, for the replacement of any such third party.
- Agree on a corrective action plan with the third party together with suitable time frames. Monitor progress and report to the Client.
- Enforce any such corrective action against any third party contractor which is determined and agreed by the Client in advance.
SgurrEnergy optimises the maintenance procedure and manual based on the results and findings obtained from the following activities;
- Performance Monitoring
- Downtime Analysis
- Testing and Diagnostics
In the process of maintenance and operational optimisation, SgurrEnergy employs Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to meticulously shape the O&M schedule including but not limited to various routine activities such as; cleaning schedules, preventive and scheduled maintenance of equipment.
Additionally, suitable inputs are provided by the monitoring team employed, which in turn is relayed to the on-site work-force including the technicians, electricians and other facility management team, through our highly trained personnel stationed on site.
Furthermore, based on periodic visual inspections on site by the site-specialist, adequate instructions are provided to the facility management team for regular maintenance and to ensure smooth, hassle free working of the asset.
SgurrEnergy also ensures that the equipment installed on site is adequately performing through routine checks and through the testing and diagnostic activities carried on site. In case of an underperforming equipment, SgurrEnergy verifies the performance against the warranted values provided by the manufacturer. In case of shortfall below the warranted values, necessary steps to be taken for successful warranty claims shall be intimated to the Client.
Complete technical assistance shall be provided in the form of various meeting, calls and various deliverables that shall be issued to the Client and the facility management team employed on site.
Meetings and Communication
SgurrEnergy undertakes weekly / monthly calls with the facility manger and Client to address all open issues and agree upon a program to address any outstanding items.
SgurrEnergy is available for two half-day senior management meetings per annum to provide the Client with performance data of the Projects and to discuss necessary or planned actions and measures.
Asset Supervision and Observations
Site inspections throughout the year are carried out by SgurrEnergy to check for damage, wear and tear of the Projects, after coordinating with the facility management team.
Pro-active monitoring of the maintenance of the Projects, including the related infrastructure, through regular contact and discussion with the facility management team, to maximise its performance and ensuring its safe operation, in respect of the stipulations of the facility management contract. The Client shall bear all third party costs incurred through such improvements of the Projects or the infrastructure.
Maintaining a record file for the operational life of the infrastructure, including all scheduled and unscheduled work completed, logging changed components and relevant parameters.
Manage and supervise the yearly regulatory HSE inspections required on the Projects. SgurrEnergy forwards all reports, findings and recommendations to the Client, and also provide advice on possible mitigation/corrective plans.
SgurrEnergy generates 12 monthly reports, covering the previous month, to provide the Client with data on the performance of the Projects during the reporting period. This includes the variance analysis of the actual performance versus the expected performance and plan for the relevant reporting period, a summary of the scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities carried out in the reporting period, scheduled maintenance is completed in the reporting period ahead alongwith any health and safety issues.
Monthly reports will be provided to the Client by no later than the 15th business day of the month following the reporting period; prior to this date SgurrEnergy provides to the Client the monthly production and availability of the reported month.
The monthly reports will summarise the following information for the reporting period:
- Energy produced and sold at the interconnection point of each asset and the Projects (actual vs. expected) for the reporting month and year-to-date
- Irradiation of each PV Plant and the Projects (actual vs. budget) for the reporting month and year-to-date
- Actual availability in conjunction with loss in energy generation for each asset (actual vs. Guaranteed Availability) for the reporting month and year-to-date
- Performance Ratio of each asset (actual vs. expected) for the reporting month and year-to-date
- Technical issues
- Site security issues
- Health, safety & environmental issues
- Any other issues, including but not limited to claims made under guarantees/warranties and insurances
Key results obtained from the analysis of the:
- Performance Monitoring – 3.1
- Operational Equipment Analysis – 3.1.1 and 3.1.2
- RCA’s for severe faults on site, if any – 3.2
On a monthly basis SgurrEnergy performs an in-depth analysis of the raw data derived from the asset in order to detect any irregularities in the performance of the Projects, if the required data is made available to SgurrEnergy. SgurrEnergy incorporates the analyses and related findings in the monthly reports.
In addition to the monthly performance reports, SgurrEnergy also provides the annual diagnostic reports incorporating the results obtained from the testing, diagnostics and data analysis conducted.
Review of Facility Management Activities
SgurrEnergy monitors the activities conducted by the facility management personnel for the Project as follows:
- Monitor the facility management activities in order to ensure that the contractor keeps the Projects in good order and complies with the scope of services and optimisation schedule provided by SgurrEnergy.
- Monitor full compliance with regard to maintenance manuals, technical schedules, hand-over reports and health and safety files.
- Act as the interface between the Client and the facility manager in order to inform the Client without delay in the event that SgurrEnergy becomes aware of any occurrence which may adversely affect the Projects, Project costs or revenue generated by the Projects.
- Undertake periodic site visits by subject experts to the Project sites in case of specific concerns; following which, SgurrEnergy will issue a report to the appropriate personnel and the Client with findings and recommendations made. The site personnel from SgurrEnergy will focus their attention on the following aspects:
- Checking the performance of the facility manager’s obligations.
- Checking the security system (visual control of the cameras and microwave barriers and testing the alarm).
- Identification of improvement opportunities and their potential cost/benefit implications.
- Visual inspections of inverters and MV equipment.
- Random checking of generator fields (e.g. cabling, dirt on modules and/or visible defects).
- Checking for defects and carrying out warranty inspections.
- Checking of vegetation.
Provide an independent perspective to facility management team and highlight any potential irregularities to the Client