- Software-based solutions dramatically reduce the staffing needed for manual data entry for asset owners and C&I developers
- Raptor Solar helps users streamline, standardize, and automate reporting so that it is customized for different stakeholders
- Reliable datasets lead to insightful and cost-saving analyses for asset managers and investors
As the Director of Asset Management at leading C&I developer and owner Madison Energy Investments (MEI), Chioma Enechukwu oversees managing roughly 200 solar assets spread across the country. Enechukwu and MEI use Raptor Maps to deliver accurate and timely reporting to clients and investors, and Raptor Maps’ API is part of a software stack that greatly reduces manual labor and human error.
Enechukwu, who is originally from Liberia, has degrees in geology and engineering. She has worked in environmental remediation, oil and gas, carbon capture and now works in the solar industry.
Along the way, she taught herself how to code and use low code tools, a skill that informs her perspective on MEI’s software stack – the independent software solutions that MEI uses together for data management – and what she looks for in an API.
“With APIs I can decide what I want to see and when,” notes Enechukwu.
The asset manager is driven to find technological solutions that allow her to clearly and effectively communicate with her clients so that it is clear that MEI is providing best-in-class stewardship of their solar farms.
“We have 200-something assets, and it’s hard to keep track of all of that,” she says, detailing that prior to using Raptor Maps’ API, a team member used to manually copy data from a Raptor Maps Excel spreadsheet into another spreadsheet.
“It was just too much manual work,” she notes. “If you’re doing the work of processing the data manually, especially with smaller solar sites, the cost is very high, and we would have had to double or triple the team to keep up with it.”
“If you’re doing the work of processing the data manually, the cost is very high, and we would have had to double or triple the team to keep up with it.”
In addition to Raptor Maps, MEI’s software stack consists of products from AlsoEnergy, 3Megawatt, and others. Enechukwu integrates AlsoEnergy’s time-series data with inspection data from Raptor Maps and uses 3Megawatt for billing. In addition to using enterprise software, her team also relies on low code tools like Power Automate, Power Apps, and Power BI to create automation and web and phone applications.
Enechukwu and her team’s regular workflow involves receiving analyses from independent engineers for each solar asset that detail estimated annual production and then regularly using data from each installation to report on how the properties are measuring up to the projections. Her team’s use of low code and software solutions to digest this data is key to transforming the data into actionable insights.
Enechukwu notes that her software stack, including the Raptor Maps API, dramatically reduces manpower hours and human error because it enables her team to automate the cross-referencing of source data with solar asset health data.
“By using Raptor Maps and other tools, I know that my site is performing the best that it can,” says Enechukwu. “Raptor Maps adds an extra insight into our asset health that might not be easy to discern by just looking at production data.”
“By using Raptor Maps and other tools … I know that my site is performing the best that it can.”
She adds that she relies on Raptor Maps inspection report data—which includes information like anomaly counts by type and estimated impact on power production—to keep her informed of small details that can have a big effect on the bottom line. For example, if Raptor Maps data informs Enechukwu’s team that anomalies are causing a 1% dip in power (according to Raptor Maps’ Global Report, a 1% dip translates to an annual loss of $1070 per MW based on global averages), teams in the field can perform preventative maintenance and resolve problems before they become serious issues.
By substantially reducing manual data entry and reporting, her team can focus on creating solutions, or, as Enechukwu puts it, “these are all the things we need to think about instead of data entry.
“These are all things that we need to think about instead of data entry.”
In terms of how she would like to harness software to further improve her day-to-day work and ensure clients have an excellent experience with MEI, Enechukwu notes that she values the flexibility to present data in ways.
“Clients and investors want to see things differently, and they want to see this added thing, this extra thing,” says Enechukwu, underscoring that ease of use and flexibility in transforming data is key.
As for solar industry professionals who might want to follow in her footsteps, Enechukwu advises everyone to learn about low code. Right now, there is a proliferation of low-code tools. “We have created entire mobile apps that are used by our field techs without writing a single line of code,” she notes, adding that it is also beneficial to know the basics of coding so that you are not afraid to apply it when necessary.
“You don’t have to be a software engineer to write a simple code to make an API request,” says Enechukwu. “At Madison, we are not in the business of creating software; that’s why we rely on powerful software like Raptor Maps. However, we do add an extra level of automation to more efficiently interact and get data from software.”
To learn more about Raptor Solar, our analytics capabilities, APIs, and more, contact us here.