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e-Solar Performance Analysis and data Collection for Energy Monitoring: an innovative solution based on measures correlation between an autonomous ground-based solar sensor and Earth observation data

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - e-SPACE monitoring (e-Solar Performance Analysis and data Collection for Energy Monitoring: an innovative solution based on measures correlation between an autonomous ground-based solar sensor and Earth observation data)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-01-31

Our business idea emerged in the following context: today many solar photovoltaic (PV) farms are not able to measure and monitor correctly the performance of their power production. Irradiance data is the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that is required. It makes it possible to compute the plant’s performance ratio (PR) with a regular frequency. Irradiance data is a ratio which expresses how much theoretical energy from solar irradiance is transformed into actual power production.
The purpose of e-SPACE Monitoring feasibility study has been to investigate both technological and market possibilities for a service resulting from the hybridisation of irradiance data providing from a proprietary ground sensor with irradiance data coming from satellite images.
The marketing part of the feasibility study led us to conduct in-depth quality interviews with many key opinion leaders and potential clients through face to face meetings during tradeshows or fairs and through phone calls to get insight data. Through this marketing study we discovered on one hand that the added value provided by very precise data from ground sensors is not enough to justify the operational costs resulting from a dedicated maintenance crew for the hybrid solution. On the other hand we pointed out that a “satellite-data-only” solution provides a good enough answer to 80% of prospects’ current needs.
The main conclusion we reached after consolidating the information resulting from this market study is we have to adjust our strategy to take these facts into account.
We kept investigating around technological feasibility of the ground sensor because we are convinced that market needs will require more accurate ground data in the future, therefore hybridized solution, once the market will reach another maturity step.
Therefore, on the short term, Reuniwatt intends to focus its energy to market development to take advantage of the current and unsatisfied monitoring market needs discovered during the feasibility study. Through the soon to be launched offer “SunSat” we intend to become the key market leader for satellites data monitoring services.
"The specific objectives were to validate the technological, market/commercial and economic viability of our proposed innovative solution. This was led through a technological assessment and an international marketing and business assessment.
As a reminder, REUNIWATT’s studied solution, e-SPACE Monitoring, is a system linking data from an Internet-of-Things-based solar irradiance measurement device with data issuing from geostationary meteorological satellites to deliver a permanent PV performance evaluation service through a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform.
Such a solution is particularly important in the Operations & Maintenance sector, where irradiance data represent one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to make sure a photovoltaic installation is working at its full potential. ""An analysis of 197 PV plants revealed that 25% of all PV plants perform 8% (or more) below expectations.""
Irradiance data can be provided either from satellite data, either from a network of ground sensors

The hybridisation of both sources is particularly interesting, as it offers a cross-validation of the data. When REUNIWATT applied to SME Phase 1, we believed that photovoltaic (PV) plant operators had a good knowledge of irradiance estimation tools using satellite data, and that the market was mature and already captured. However, our market study led us to rethink our strategy: satellite solutions are not yet set for every international market (particularly in the Asia-Pacific region). Moreover, on more mature markets, such as Europe, there is a clear need for obtaining independent real-time estimation data, confirmed by Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) who require such a KPI. Thus, as it will be explained in the current report, REUNIWATT decided to primarily focus on satellite imaging and to redefine its strategy following the conclusions of the technological assessment (Task 1) as well as the international marketing and business assessment (Task 2).
As targeted users are not as well-informed concerning real-time satellite irradiance data as previously thought, REUNIWATT will begin by educating (“evangelizing”) its clients step by step. The first stage of this process is to instruct them on how to use satellite data through a 100% satellite tool: SunSat.
Once our clients have a good command of this aspect, we will introduce them to e-SPACE Monitoring: the hybridisation of satellite and ground-based data. We have already developed a first proof of concept (POC) of our in-situ measurement device, but we are still on the client discovery process. However, the deployment of SunSat can be done straight away, as we master all the technical aspects linked to satellite image reception, treatment, analysis and delivery.
Eventually, the importance of cross-validated irradiance data is highlighted by new uses, particularly for irradiance and production forecasting purposes. Indeed, in order to provide the most precise possible forecasts, it is necessary to have a confirmation of ground measures through satellite data. This particular need is growing, but the market is not yet mature."
Feasibility study showed a market potential higher than expected, with a first simplified product, satellite only, called SunSat.
KPI generated by Reuniwatt will help market get organized between Solar Asset Management on one side, Operation & Maintenance on the other side.
KPI will help improve O&M performance, PV installation producing more electricity, leveraging impact of renewable. Positive impact on environment.
On Reuniwatt side, help generate employment and consolidate the team.
R&D & marketing colleagues with e-SPACE monitoring ground segment
Reuniwatt logo
e-SPACE monitoring system schematic