January Issue 2019 Cover Story- Changing Times For Indian Solar Asset Management Industry: Outlook 2019

Knowledge Resources


sunil waaree

Mr. Sunil Rathi, Director, Waaree Energies

During the last few years, India has taken several major steps to reduce its dependence on conventional sources of energy,resulting in the emergence of solar power as a clear winner. Thistransition becomes even more important as we move closer to2022, with its ambitious target of generating 100 GW of powerthrough solar energy. Growing concerns about climate changeand the drastic depletion of fossil fuels have also contributed to these conversations becoming far more urgent, and multiple nations coming together to find substitutes to conventional sources of energy.

As a result, we have continuously been moving towards becoming an entirely solar reliant nation, because of which, the industry has seen a substantially augmented growth. The transition to solar power becomes even more pertinent as the achievementof the renewable energy targets is dependent on the success of the solar revolution inthe country. Out of the 227 GW target set for renewable energy, solar power is expectedto contribute more than 50% towards achieving the same. And while cynics have voiced their disagreement, completion of the targets is not impossible. Currently, India is amongthe 10 largest solar energy generating nations in the world, and by 2035, it is expected to possess 8% of the global solar capacity. As reported by Mercom, the country recentlyhad an installed solar PV capacity of 25 GW, which is a significant increase from the 17.05GW installed by December 2017. The increased support from the Government has been one of the largest contributors towards solar industry becoming an important part ofone of the largest contributors towards solar industry becoming an important part ofIndia Inc.

However, it is quite evident that the industry is still facing a few challenges, which are preventing it from realising its full potential. One of the prime examples is theimplementation of Safeguard Duty, which is only applicable on select countries like China and Taiwan. As a result, imports are now redirected from Thailand, Vietnam, andother neighbouring countries. This loophole results in an influx of low quality productsat unsustainable prices, specifically what Safeguard Duty was brought in to combat.The lack of supporting anti-dumping policies also leaves very little scope for domesticmanufacturers to innovate, and redirect their focus to increasing their capacity. As we enter the New Year, the support of the Government has now become extremely crucial. The domestic manufacturing sector needs favourable initiatives and schemesthat provide a platform to develop local manufacturing, and allows extensive R&D tobring in innovative technologies. Rooftop and floating are two segments that we foreseebeing among the biggest contributors to the segment’s growth. In addition to that, utilityscale energy storage is also expected to change the solar landscape in India completely.It would make solar power – both generated on-grid and off-grid – more accessible, andis expected to make it the preferred choice in answering India’s energy needs.The increased focus on accepting the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification asa selection criterion by lenders is testament to the industry’s sentiments in developingsolar modules based on the compliance towards norms related to raw materials. In fact,it becomes especially important as it helps control quality at all stages of manufacturers,while also allowing manufacturers to provide successful ROI to investors.



Mr. Sushain Sharma, Business Head – India, Also Energy


India has surpassed 25GW of PV assets with the bulk of themcoming up in the last 2 years. Both rooftop and Utility segment have taken tremendous strides in adopting the best practices forthe management/maintenance of these assets eg adopting dronesurveys for infrared hotspot identification, waterless cleaning systems for panels, etc. One of the key impacts of the price pressure on O&M budgets, is the increased data-driven approach to asset management strategies. Response Time Guarantees are making their way along with Performancestrategies. Response Time Guarantees are making their way along with Performance Ratio guarantees for O&M contracts. The Big Data that we have been collecting overthe years has become crucial due to the applicability of this data towards pointing outplant performance trends going down to the string level. Every aspect of the plantdeviceperformance is being used to determine KPIs and SLAs – reaction times, resolution times, faster and more accurate diagnostics. This is enabling the optimization of cost of intervention, and asset management as a whole. With greater adoption of a data drivenO&M response, this is expected to build into organizational approaches to selecting assetswith the least LCOE instead of just attacking the upfront costs.



Mr. Idrish Khan, CTO (Chief Technical Officer), Ginlong (Solis) Technologies Co., Ltd.

Asset management will be going to play key role for maintain thesolar plant performance. Based on the current market situationthere are more and more solar plant are coming operation, andwe have seen since 2016 on-word there is increment in roof top installation, distributed solar system. So now the very importantquestion come in role how the plant performance should bemaintain. There various method and technology we adopt to do the analysis, and asset management company adobe the preventive measure to carry the maintenance, where are many component involve in a solar system, such as (PV module, Cable trays, Combinerbox, inverter, AC combiner box, interconnections) so in a the solar system major important role handle by solar inverter which convert available power in to compatible AC power which can be used, the solar string inverter required very less maintenance activitycompare to other component used in solar plant, but solar inverter should have facilities to allow O&M team to provide real time information, so choosing the inverter which have all in-built function to handle external variation, and to protect the hardware and at the same time recording of such variation should also need to happen and should be availablesame time recording of such variation should also need to happen and should be availableto see or come in notice by O&M team to take necessary actions.We at Ginlong technology is focus to-word continuous development of product considering the market requirement, so to provide easy of installation and quick access to technical person in case of troubleshooting, all solis inverter are integrated with LCD display andwith function key to access the inverter parameter to find the right information’s and atthe same time Ginlong provide real time remote monitoring over cloud, and also availableon mobile APP, for android & IOS platform where the alert has been send where plantowner can pass the information to address the fault to minimize the generation time andrevenue loss.For asset management solar plant data collection and abilities are the key thing for them todo proper planning and necessary measures, the string inverter with multi Mppt function can provide the data to decide the frequency of PV module cleaning, the O&M team canmonitor the PV voltage and current to understand which PV array are not performing andsame information can be seen on inverter display and on monitoring cloud.

In sort for asset management selection for right inverter technology will play vital role toget better performance, better yield, and most important revenue for faster ROI.



Mr. Ayush Mahajan, CEO, PV Diagnostics

Solar PV installations have been growing at an unprecedentedrate in India, with the cumulative capacity already being more than 20GW. However, this rapid scaling, coupled with ever falling tariffs and intense competition may be resulting in compromised quality. After studying more than 500 MW of assets in the last year,we have found that most assets have module level degradations much higher than the expected degradations claimed by the manufacturers. From a set 10,000 modules selected in plants across different regions and age, we found that nearly~30% modules had cracks, ~25% modules were suffering from PID and ~10% moduleshad soldering defects. The nature of defects suggests that quality had been compromised at various stages throughout the building of the solar asset - procurement of modules, transportation, installation, design, and maintenance.

High degradations in the older assets change the way we should look at asset management going forward. With the growing integration of information technology with the solarindustry, asset management in the future will follow a more data-driven approach. While the old school asset management ensures the management of inventory, cleaning,landscaping, security, and SCADA monitoring, the next generation asset management hasto follow a more predictive and preventive approach towards maintaining the solar assets.The spread of string-level monitoring is a step closer in this direction. Analytics can be performed on the string level monitoring data to identify irregular patterns and predictfailures to some extent. However, to ensure that the potential risks and damages in the plant are proactively identified, the asset management companies should get the modules,inverters, transformers tested annually or biannually. Presence of equipment such asportable EL camera, thermal drones, and accurate IV tracers and power analyzers havemade the onsite testing affordable and scalable for large assets. Getting these tests doneat different stages also helps in better root cause analysis and establishing accountability.



Mr. Eric Daniel, VP Sales, QOS Energy

Harness the intelligence of your renewable data to increaseproduction and reduce downtime of your solar assets. According to a study conducted by Massachusetts Instituteof Technology, companies that use data-driven decisionmakingare 5% more productive and profitable than theircompetitors. Can we apply the results of this study to renewableoperations & maintenance?Solar asset are nowadays subject to a true data deluge. Thousands of raw data is today gathered each second from each solar plant in India. Operations teams make decisions based on data that they receive from monitoring providers, SCADA systems, dataloggers, based on data that they receive from monitoring providers, SCADA systems, dataloggers,inverters, satellite irradiation data, weather forecast services, and other sources.Making sense of this large volume of raw data is a tremendous challenge, but in thesame time, holds to key to ensure maximum power production and reduce downtimes forthousands of renewable assets in the country on the long-term.Solar asset operators and owners now demand more from analytical toolsets than simplyevaluating the current operational status of their renewable portfolios via real-time andhistorical benchmarks. They are now able to extract significant operational insights and increased asset value by leveraging cloud computing and data science. I shared my views and experience during RE Asset India about key success factors to implement a successful renewable operations center with a focus on energy forecasting and machine learning case studies for Indian market.






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