Power Factors, an independent network operations center (NOC) service for solar power owners and operators, and ECG, makers of advanced monitoring software, have combined their efforts to provide an advanced predictive monitoring service for the solar power marketplace. The service is built on the OSIsoft PI system platform and utilizes ECG's state of the art process monitoring software that utilizes Advanced Pattern Recognition (APR) technology.
The solar power market segment is an immature industry that delivers high volumes of sensor level data to independent monitoring services with little ability to process, analyze and alert on the performance of these assets. In addition, the typical Residential system installation does not include weather station monitoring data from which expected system performance can be calculated. As a result, more than one million Residential solar systems in the U.S. have no way of knowing if the system is performing up to expectations. Power Factors and ECG have teamed up to address this problem by porting Residential solar power data into ECG's Predict-IT pattern recognition software to identify early failure and under-performing equipment. Initial results have been very promising and under-performing assets have been identified by ECG that had previously gone undetected. The application is delivered to customers as a service using Power Factors PF Insight service built on the PI System and all Predict-IT analytics are written back into the PI System for use in automated alerts and long-term performance trending.
Benefits to the to the financial owner include:
- Lower system capital and operating costs by not having to install and maintain weather station devices on the system
- Ability to monitor system performance and take corrective action
- Ability to normalize data to manage system performance guarantees benefits to the homeowners include the ability to not only know that the system is working, but that it is working well
- Knowledge that the performance guarantee that was priced into the system can actually be monitored and that their system will receive service if a performance anomaly is detected
Power Factors and ECG are also evaluating the use of the technology and service on distributed generation and utility-scale solar systems to detect performance problems deeper in the solar array that are typically undetectable expect when using very costly manual test equipment in the field."
Steve Hanawalt has worked in the independent power industry since its birth in the early 1980's. Over the past thirty years, he has developed a deep set of operational & management skills including start-up engineering, performance engineering, operations management, and asset optimization.
Steve started his career as an engineer with International Power Technology. Recognizing personal computing technology allowed engineers for the first time to automatically acquire and process real-time plant data, he founded Power Factors Incorporated in 1986 to provide plant performance analytic services to the power industry. Steve successfully ran Power Factors as CEO for 12 years before being recruited by Calpine in 1999 to develop its Plant Optimization business unit. Steve developed and led the group for 7 years where his team was responsible for optimizing the thermal and economic performance of Calpine’s 25,000 MW portfolio of combined cycle power plants.
In 2007, Steve left Calpine to join SunPower Corporation as Global Vice President of O&M where he had responsibility for commissioning and managing the largest fleet of solar photovoltaic power plants in the world (>1GW). Recognizing the solar industry was in need of an independent O&M provider with best in class monitoring and performance analytics, Steve left SunPower in January of 2012 to form Power Factors LLC.
Steve is the Vice President of Technology and Central Operations at Power Factors and is responsible for monitoring over 4 GW of solar power plants around the world using the PF Insight network operations center technology (NOC).
Steve received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982 with a specialization in energy conversion.
Mike Santucci is a controls engineer with thirty years' experience in Power Generation. Mike is the founder and President of Engineering Consultants Group in Akron, Ohio. ECG develops custom software solutions for the power industry as well as bolt-on monitoring applications for the PI System platform.