For years, connected technologies have allowed us to share and collaborate across our teams, workgroups and partner networks. In the commercial enterprise, collaboration is at the center of efficiency and performance. It extends the reach and the capabilities of your organization, enables a higher level of process optimization, and drives continuous improvements across your team and your partner ecosystems. We have all been getting a crash course in workgroup collaboration while observing social distancing protocols over the past six weeks. As we have been trying to minimize staff travel, many companies are finding untapped value in the technologies they use every day to coordinate remote operations. Unlocking the full value of your existing systems not only drives more effective workgroup collaboration, it can also help you keep your team safe by reducing on-site visits.
Here are 3 steps to help you tap into the full value of your system:
Ensure the system is tuned
Our window into site activity is data, but large system and fleet data sets are inherently noisy. The more efficiently you can sift through the multitudes of data points to identify, diagnose and address the critical few high-impact issues, the more effective and impactful your team can be. Quieting the noise can focus your efforts on rapid response and root cause analysis, helping to drive higher productivity and continuous improvement.
The first step is to ensure discrete site configurations are accurate, both at the device and software levels. Configuration is not a set it and forget it process. In order to ensure optimal operations, configurations must be surveyed and updated on a recurring basis to ensure they are optimized for current site conditions. A properly configured system will include system benchmarks accounting for complex factors such as trackers, shading, seasonal variation, and aging components. When accurate benchmarks are in place, performance alerts can be fine-tuned to identify smaller generation issues that would go unnoticed in systems without accurate benchmarking, helping you to increase yields and catch small problems before they become big issues.
Activate actionable workflows
The next step after establishing a shared, single version of the truth across your teams and your ecosystem is getting the right data into the hands of the right decision makers at the right time with a system of smart, collaborative and flexible processes and workflows. Role based system intelligence allows you to direct and automate alert notifications, work orders, reports, job ticket creation, decision requests, truck rolls, vendor work orders, and client invoices to the appropriate project stakeholders across your organization and partner network. This streamlines processes across all workgroups and gives each user a clear customized path from data to decision to the next step in the chain.
Extend remote visibility and control
O&M systems innovation has evolved considerably over the past few years; events that once required truck rolls can now be managed from a desktop, including system tests, controls, updates, device configurations, and troubleshooting. For EPCs and developers, testing and validation leading up to system commissioning can be done remotely, reducing demand for personnel on site and lowering project costs. For operators and O&M providers, fleet management activities can be consolidated at centralized control centers, even as portfolios grow over time.
Smart grid requirements such as California Rule 21 are driving even more advances in smart inverter functionality and network performance on site, enabling greater remote visibility and control. Functions such as grid disconnect/connect, export control, and reactive power support can be executed from Remote Operations Centers (ROC), both for generation assets and for integrated storage systems. Meanwhile, private cellular networks and Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections enable safe and secure access to data and interaction with hardware on site.