Monthly Archives: October 2016
Infiswift Acquires Smart Resource Labs to Enrich its Internet of Things Platform with Powerful Data Analytics
Acquisition enables new, smarter solutions by integrating performance analytics with Internet of Things platform technology
San Francisco, CA – October 26, 2016 Infiswift, an enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) platform leader, has acquired Smart Resource Labs (SRL), a provider of technical asset management tools and performance solutions for complex power systems. The acquisition rounds out infiswift’s end-to-end IoT platform solution by accelerating development of key analytics and visualization capabilities that make collected data truly actionable.
“Infiswift has invested in building a very powerful IoT platform that, coupled with SRL’s experience in building highly effective visualization and analytics tools, allows us to provide a unique, full-service solution,” said Kannan Dorairaj, CEO at infiswift. “It is critical to go beyond seamless connectivity and real-time data to obtain true insight that can be a catalyst for action, and SRL will help us do just that.”
SRL’s expertise lies in transforming masses of technical data into insight for customers who are focused on electrical submetering, standards-based solar photovoltaic performance reporting and electrical system characterization. The tools and approach developed by SRL to enable this transformation will be integrated into infiswift’s cost-effective, intuitive and scalable IoT platform, which enables users to connect devices, route and manage data and build applications to manage processes and operations. Together, the technologies complement each other to enhance IoT solutions in energy, agriculture, smart cities and other applications.
“The value we can now provide customers is unmatched,” said Arup Barat, Chief Commercial Officer at infiswift. “Backed by the power of SRL’s analytics engine, we can gather data from any source in real-time and simplify it into more digestible analytics. We now have the tools to understand what needs closer inspection and advise owners, operators, engineers, financiers and other stakeholders on how to take action and make more informed decisions.”
AJ Rossman, Director of SRL, will join infiswift as Senior Director of Performance Solutions and lead infiswift’s East Coast office in Burlington, VT. As a pioneer in solar data management and performance monitoring, Rossman brings over a decade of experience making sense of enterprise data to drive more efficient operations.
“The capabilities of these technologies together are far greater than the sum of their parts,” said Rossman. “Infiswift’s customers can truly experience the promise of IoT and have the insights necessary to reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction and enable new services.”
For more information about infiswift, visit www.infiswift.com
About infiswiftInfiswift is rethinking the enterprise-grade IoT platform by providing the plumbing to connect and manage devices, users and cloud-based services. Its unique architecture enables world-class security and scalability with a powerful development environment and analytics front end for custom implementations. The ultra-lightweight design and extremely efficient operation make it ideal for intermittently connected and power deficient environments that require real-time operation. For more information, visit www.infiswift.com.
About Smart Resource LabsSmart Resource Labs (SRL) makes data easy to synthesize for all stakeholders by seamlessly integrating hardware, communications, web-based tools and proven process. SRL products include the SRLink™ energy information system for commercial and industrial submetering, PV performance reports and a Microgrid Assessment Tool. Smart Resource Labs is based in Burlington, VT. For more information, visit www.smartrl.com
The cost of solar energy has changed drastically over the years, with module prices plummeting from $4/Watt in 2008 to around $0.65/W today (source). Solar Operations and Maintenance (O&M) is changing rapidly as well, in response to continuing efforts to further reduce costs. New technologies are driving changes in solar O&M, but, unlike modules, O&M can’t be commoditized. Different power plants require unique and sometimes contrasting O&M programs. This article presents an approach to identify effective O&M strategies.
All solar plants will bear O&M costs throughout their lifecycle. Some examples are staffing for site access and plant controls, equipment inspection and service, module cleaning, and emergency response to unplanned failures or events. The objective of a well thought-out O&M strategy should be to maximize energy output with minimal cost for ongoing operation.
The capacity of a plant, location, value of energy and more will drive what type of O&M program is effective. A 10kW solar plant may require only a few hours of O&M work per year, while plants on the scale of 100MW often staff full time operators. While there are obvious differences in planning for very large compared to very small plants, there are two core O&M philosophies: do nothing until it breaks, or do everything possible to prevent it from breaking. The “wait to break” approach can expose the plant to long unplanned outages, and the preventive path can introduce unnecessary expense in the name of caution. The optimal O&M program carefully balances these extremes.
Specific O&M activities can vary widely in cost, frequency, and technologies used. When considering which O&M activities are effective for a given plant, there is a common metric to measure it’s return: Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE). LCOE is a well-known metric in the solar industry, and is used by solar developers to establish a normalized cost of producing energy. The concept of LCOE is simple: all the costs to build and operate the plant are divided by the total energy output of the plant.
O&M strategies can be evaluated using LCOE by comparing the cost of the specific strategy to the expected effect on plant energy output. After establishing the unit cost for the O&M strategy, comparison to the revenue for a unit of energy shows if the strategy is profitable for the plant.
For example, how much does it cost to clean your solar panels compared to the increased energy yield from cleaning? Some solar owners are finding panel cleaning doesn’t always pay off. This simple approach can be used to evaluate various O&M strategies including annual maintenance plans, software and monitoring services, and stocking replacement parts or equipment.
Emerging technologies promise to change the solar O&M landscape, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is particularly promising. IoT starts with the premise that all devices should be securely connected to the internet, then leverages that connectivity to deliver ongoing value through interconnecting various data systems and platforms. While there have been industrial networks and controls solutions since before the internet, those solutions today are not cost-effective and can’t always deliver the level of compatibly and flexibility needed. IoT solutions that can drive value in solar O&M include low-cost, reliable, distributed sensing and data processing, wireless transmission, and highly interoperable system architectures. Dropping costs and rising reliability are evident in smart cities, homes, and solar energy IoT applications all over the world.
Ultimately, when it comes to O&M for solar plants, there is no one-sized approach. Third party O&M providers may be more interested in selling more services than optimizing for LCOE performance. O&M planning should be adapted for plant size, location, value of energy, cost of labor and other relevant factors, using the concept of LCOE for evaluation. When selecting O&M technologies and strategy, understand the options, be strategic and proactive about research, and make an informed choice that fits with your objectives.
Contact: Dan Bigelow
Sr. Director of Customer Success, infiswift