Efficiently managing a growing fleet of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems challenges many businesses — not just those in the energy industry. With the cost of traditional grid-tied electricity on the rise and the dramatic decrease in the cost of solar energy, many businesses, as well as building owners and operators, are looking to solar as key pieces of their energy management programs.
With a rapidly growing solar fleet that already takes in more than 150 of the company’s 1,052 self-storage properties, or about 14 percent, ESS needed a tool that would help its energy managers better manage their solar assets and reduce O&M costs. Through a partnership with Locus Energy, an independent solar monitoring and analytics platform provider, ESS deployed Virtual Irradiance (VI).
Soon, Locus will be able to help fleet operators like ESS use analytics to remotely determine the causes of a solar PV system’s failure to meet performance expectations with its Waterfall report, which includes detail on loss factors such as weather uncertainty, snow downtime, shading, equipment downtime, equipment degradation and inverter problems. The prescriptive analysis provided by Waterfall will enable fleet operators a specific, detailed understanding of which factors are most affecting the performance of a solar PV system and how the causes of that underperformance can be addressed best.