Solar Leaders Discuss Future of Industry at Raptor Maps Conference

Solar Leaders Discuss Future of Industry at Raptor Maps Conference

Raptor Maps hosted its first-ever conference, RaptorCon, last week in Austin, Texas. The conference brought together top industry leaders who shared unique and tech-forward approaches to the solar industry’s problems.

Over the course of a day and a half, the speakers and panelists covered a remarkable breadth of material and insights. Speaker highlights are noted below.

Interested in getting a debrief of the presentations? Fill out our Contact form and request a debrief here.

 

Raptor Maps Cofounders Discuss Digitization, Emerging Tech

Raptor Maps Cofounders Nikhil Vadhavkar and Eddie Obropta held a session highlighting key forces driving digitization in the solar industry: rising competitive pressures, increased funding for solar projects, and demand for data transparency. The Raptor Maps cofounders also discussed emerging technologies that will enable future advancements in the solar industry’s digital landscape, such as how a robust system of record paired with API-enabled applications can provide the continuity and data standardization required for stakeholders across the project lifecycle.

 

Raptor Maps CRO Explores Financial Repercussions of Anomalies

Raptor Maps CRO James Wagstaff gave a preview of Raptor Maps’ forthcoming Annual Global Report, citing statistics from the report showing that power loss from anomalies on solar farms has grown by 92% over the last 5 years and 14% year-over-year. The annual financial impact from that power loss is conservatively estimated at around $82 million of lost revenue.

 

Citi Managing Director Dives Into Clean Energy Financing

Arash Nazhad, Managing Director on Citi’s Global Clean Energy Technology team, delivered the keynote at RaptorCon. Nazhad discussed the evolving landscape of clean energy financing, emphasizing that the forecast has only gotten brighter for the solar industry given rapid innovations in solar PV technology and costs, advancements in storage technology, and the massive pipeline of solar projects. Compared to “Clean Tech 1.0”, there is significant capital committed from diverse sources to enable that pipeline. Nazhad also noted that it is no longer a question if clean energy companies will dominate public markets, but rather who is poised to emerge as leaders in the space.

 

VDE Americas Engineer Emphasizes Technical Due Diligence

VDE Americas Senior Principal Engineer Jon Previtali spoke about the importance of robust technical due diligence in solar project finance to increase ROI, noting that solar projects are underperforming relative to expectations. Previtali dove into how clearer scoping of technical due diligence can set clear expectations with project sponsors and stakeholders, and how testing should be done to ensure the project is operating as designed and modeled.

 

JinkoSolar Engineer Highlights the Riches of Thermographic Data

JinkoSolar Senior Sales Application Engineer Michael Amati presented on the evolution of thermography and innovations unlocked by reliable thermographic data. Amati explored how the growth of aerial thermography creates massive labor efficiency and safety benefits, as well as an opportunity to establish a global standard of leveraging high-quality inspections across project stakeholders. Amati also touched on how the data from inspections results in an efficiency boost in warranty claims and said that Jinko’s warranty claims workflow through the Raptor Solar platform has resulted in up to a 90% reduction in manufacturer review time.

 

Panelists Discuss Digital Solutions for Managing Solar Assets

RaptorCon also hosted a panel devoted to the various digital options —including GIS, APIs, and digital twins — for managing solar assets. The panel was made up of the Head of Digital Hub for Business Development at Enel North America Keith Aubin; Director, Asset Management at Madison Energy Investments Chioma Enechukwa; Arevon Energy Senior Asset Manager Lakshmi Nandakumar; and VP of Engineering at Greenbacker Capital Fernando Rodriguez. Panelists discussed the importance of tying in revenue and financial impact to solar asset management workflows, such as prioritizing remediation and maintenance efforts, and how insights can be scaled via data standardization and use of APIs.

 

Nevados CCO Explores Challenges of Scaling the Solar Industry

Nevados Chief Commercial Officer Jenya Meydbray shared his perspective on the headwinds the solar industry faces as it rapidly scales in a fireside chat with Raptor Maps CEO and Cofounder Nikhil Vadhavkar. Meydbray discussed what he sees as the drivers of underperformance when compared to financial projections, and how owners and developers can better plan and conduct diligence to improve economies over the project lifecycle.

 

VC Head Talks About Climate Tech Investment Landscape

Amy Francetic, Managing General Partner and Co-Founder of Buoyant Ventures, touched on the trends driving digital climate technology innovations and the importance of focusing on both adaptation and mitigation strategies to combat climate change. Francetic also gave an overview of what Buoyant Ventures, which is a leader in the climate tech space and a Raptor Maps investor, typically looks for in winning investments.

 

Enel Head of Risk Highlights Promises of Drone-in-a-Box

Enel North America’s Head of Industrial Risk & Cross Technology Improvement Bill Badnaruk spoke in-depth about drone-in-a-box technology and how it is expected to have a huge impact on solar farm operations. Badnaruk said that drone-in-a-box presents massive benefits such as consistent data captures, automated data workflows, reduction in labor hours, and scheduled flights. Although the drone industry has high levels of competition, Badnaruk also shared his perspective on the manufacturers who have established themselves as leaders in the Drone-in-a-Box market.

 

Sustainability Architect Shares on Amazon’s Investment in Renewable Energy

Guyu Ye, Sustainability Application Architect at Amazon Web Services, shared Amazon’s sustainability journey, particularly in power generation, and how the company is on track to power 100% of operations by 2025. As a co-founder and the first signatory of the Climate Pledge, Amazon is leading the way with more than 18.5GW of renewable energy purchased and the world’s largest corporate renewable fleet of more than 380 projects around the world.

 

Raptor Maps Product VP Emphasizes Need for Solar System of Record

Raptor Maps Vice President of Product Mike Davey spoke about how Raptor Maps’ software solution, Raptor Solar, is rooted in building the system of record for the solar industry. Davey talked about how the industry has no market-standard sources for in-field performance and benchmarking, and how Raptor Solar is seeking to change that. Davey also touched on how Raptor Solar is meeting the industry’s demands for efficiency by optimizing legacy processes such as warranty claims and work orders.

All photos by Lorraine Photography

 

What’s New at Raptor Maps?

What’s New at Raptor Maps?

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

Legacy processes are everywhere in solar, and here at Raptor Maps we’re committed to moving them forward so the industry can scale.

Our recent product iterations have focused on digitizing some of the more painful outdated systems that are in place — like, say, having to review policies, track different email threads, and manage Excel files just to submit a warranty claim.

With digitization, solar stakeholders can maximize performance, reduce costs, and standardize operations. Digitization also extends to improving efficiency in the field.

We are committed to connecting players across the ecosystem with the click of a button and to keeping customers informed about every aspect of an asset via the digital twin.

A tech-forward claims process

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

Our enterprise-grade warranty claims product — released in partnership with Jinko Solar, one of the largest PV module manufacturers — saves time for owners and operators.

Communication about a claim takes place within the Raptor Solar platform, with owners and operators submitting directly, and manufacturers finalizing and approving claims within the software.

The product streamlines what has historically been a cumbersome administrative process.

Field technicians, this new map experience is for you

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

We’ve evolved our map features with a goal of supporting action in the field – from preventative maintenance to corrective maintenance, our mobile app can help.

Users of our Raptor Maps mobile app can now view all anomalies from any inspection within a single map view. Choose from a variety of map layers, and set the as-built transparency to your liking. Then filter by the anomaly types or priority you are looking for. Lastly, use your own location to move between the results in any order you choose.

We didn’t stop there: We also boosted our web experience for browsing solar sites. Site coordinators and managers will appreciate the new mini-map, which shows you where you are within the site’s boundaries at all times. Also, we added the geo-location feature to the web so that both mobile and web views have the same feature.

Watch this space: There’s lots more planned for next year on the mobile front.

SCADA data integrated into inspection analytics

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

With Raptor Maps’ SCADA and DAS integrations, solar companies can localize time series data within a digital twin. We recently integrated with GreenPowerMonitor to localize inverter, combiner, and pyranometer data to the correct geospatial position on a solar farm. The integration works in tandem with thermography analytics for immediate assessments of how underperforming conditions impact power production.

Customers can also leverage integrations with leading providers such as AlsoEnergy, Power Factors, and several others. This integrated dataset supports real-time comprehensive financial analysis as well as more efficient field operations. A sophisticated degradation analysis is now made easier through the use of normalized temperature deltas, which can strengthen warranty claims.

As we continue to add important sources of structured data to the digital twin, we are able to provide deeper insights for you at site-, fleet- and market-levels.

A dashboard with comprehensive insights

Raptor Maps’ digital twin incorporates geospatial and electrical relationships to create a standardized data model across an entire portfolio, and our dashboard allows users to easily access that benchmarking data.

What’s a digital twin? A virtual copy of your physical asset. A digital twin ingests and structures data from any number of sources so that you have one dynamic system of record. One of the many benefits of a digital twin, is identifying and predicting possible performance outcomes.

Users can click on a module in a fully populated digital twin to analyze key analytics, including factory performance data, supply chain details, installation verification, inverter metrics, repair or replacement information, and the financial implications of O&M decisions.

Finally, in case you missed it…

Not sure if an anomaly is new or chronic? You can compare inspection data across past reports for any site using our Report Comparison feature, which helps you manage your watchlists effectively. Track anomalies year over year in a centralized platform to confirm new and existing anomalies are being addressed.

Inspection reports from different vendors over the years? Not a problem. Our digitization process is vendor agnostic, and can ingest inspection data regardless of the data collection method (drone or plane).

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

Are there other improvements you’d like to see from Raptor Maps’ products? If so, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to us here.

 

Aerial Thermography Findings from the Field: The Lesser-Known Impact of Shading on Power Production

Aerial Thermography Findings from the Field: The Lesser-Known Impact of Shading on Power Production

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

PV module shading comes from a wide variety of sources, including trees, ground vegetation, soiling, adjacent rows, and debris. While each instance of shading is unique and can affect power production to varying degrees, there has been little investigation into whether shading of a single string happens in isolation, or whether it also affects neighboring, non-shaded strings and modules within those strings.

Raptor Maps, in partnership with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette), conducted a set of experiments at the 1.1MWdc Louisiana Solar Energy Lab (LaSEL) to look into how module shading affects the power production of surrounding equipment. We found that hot spots emerged on an adjacent string as a direct result of module shading. These hot spots appear as a result of the shading impacting the Maximum Power Point Tracker’s (MPPT) optimal current and voltage.

In this experiment, Raptor Maps first conducted a IEC compliant Raptor Comprehensive level aerial thermography inspection in order to establish an accurate record of all defects, including instances of PV module shading. To control for other factors, Raptor Maps conducted the experiment on a nominal string so there was no interference from underlying hot spots or other defects.

The experimental area consists of polycrystalline modules configured with 18 modules per string and two strings per Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT). Inverters in this area consist of 30 kW string inverters in a 6-string configuration.

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

Raptor Maps systematically covered sections of modules within the same string with pieces of cardboard large enough to activate bypass diodes. Throughout this process, a drone with a radiometric thermal payload captured IR imagery in order to monitor the emergence of additional hot spots, as well as specific temperature delta calculations of modules in the adjacent string. Calculating temperature deltas following the addition of each piece of cardboard allowed for precise monitoring of the effects of changing the MPPT’s power curve.

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

Increasing hot spot severity as a result of activating bypass diodes in neighboring string

Between these measurements and visible observations in IR imagery, it is clear that increasing the amount of shading within one string has a negative impact on power production of not only the shaded string but also of an adjacent, non-shaded string.  Shading of only a small percentage of modules in this instance can have a large impact on the optimal DC current and voltage for each string input. The non-shaded adjacent string had to operate a non-optimal voltage and current, resulting in temporary hot spots. It is important to note that this impact on production is in many cases likely not considered during system performance modeling.

Further, in addition to temporary hot spots, prolonged shading can result in burned-out cells, bypass diode failure, or fire in the most severe instances in the shaded modules. Long-term shading can also cause advanced degradation and aging of PV modules. Raptor Maps aggregate findings indicate that shading, particularly from vegetation, is one of the most consistent and prevalent anomaly types identified year after year, amounting to many MWs of annual power losses across the dataset. Based on these findings, it is highly recommended that shading be treated as a priority and quickly remediated. 

This article was written by Charlie Davies, the Technical Specialist at Raptor Maps, in partnership with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette). 

 

GreenPowerMonitor and Raptor Maps Unlock New Analytical Category for Solar 

GreenPowerMonitor and Raptor Maps Unlock New Analytical Category for Solar 

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

EV Solar featured as launch partner to integrate SCADA data with aerial inspection analytics 

Boston, MA, November 23, 2022 — Raptor Maps, the leading provider of solar lifecycle management software, has partnered with leading renewable monitoring provider GreenPowerMonitor to enable a new domain of data and insights for managing solar assets. The integration of the Raptor Maps and GreenPowerMonitor software platforms will be launched on a portfolio overseen by EV Solar, a leading full-service engineering, EPC, and O&M firm. 

With this first-of-its kind offering, Raptor Maps and GreenPowerMonitor are able to localize inverter, combiner, and pyranometer data to the correct geospatial position on a solar farm, making it accessible via a digital twin. Asset owners and operators will have immediate assessments into how the physical conditions of modules impact power production, all ready for analysis alongside maintenance and inspection data.

“We’re pleased to be bringing together two critical data sources that we use to run our assets and we look forward to doing more with GreenPowerMonitor and Raptor Maps,” says Manuel Folgado, the CEO of EV Solar.

The announcement comes amidst a global push to scale the solar industry, with the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act earmarking $370 billion for renewable energy in the United States and REPowerEU setting concrete measures for transitioning Europe away from fossil fuel sources. O&M teams are increasingly seeking tech-forward solutions for maximizing performance.

“We are proud of our customer-centric approach,” explains Juan Carlos Arévalo, CEO and cofounder of GreenPowerMonitor, a DNV company. “EV Solar is a forward-looking organization that is scaling quickly, and we are partnering with Raptor Maps to enable this solution for them and the other 60GW of solar and wind customers in our portfolio.”

“The integration of sensor data in the GreenPowerMonitor platform with inspection analytics in the Raptor Maps platform creates tighter correlation between maintenance and performance,” notes Raptor Maps CEO and cofounder Nikhil Vadhavkar, adding that aerial inspection data for 40 EV Solar sites are stored within the Raptor Solar platform. “By incorporating and learning from this data, EV Solar is showing us what the future of solar asset management will look like.”

About Raptor Maps

Raptor Maps is a US-based solar software company founded by MIT engineers. Its flagship product, Raptor Solar, enables data-driven asset management and an increased rate of return across utility-scale and C&I portfolios. Raptor Maps enables its customers to scale with its industry-leading digital twin that enables high-value workflows from the fusion of equipment records, inspection analytics, in-field sensor information, and customer input. Raptor Maps has provided analytics for over 75 GW of solar PV across 40 countries. The company recently announced its Series B funding, led by MacKinnon Bennett & Co., Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Blue Bear Capital, DNV, Buoyant Ventures, Congruent Ventures, Data Point Capital and ENGIE New Ventures. Learn more at raptormaps.com.

About EV Solar

EV Solar performs full EPC services, undertaking PV projects with its skilled and dedicated teams. The knowledge acquired by its managers in EPC services and solutions during 20+ years of aggregate experience guarantees high quality and cost-effective services to achieve customer needs. EV Solar is also expert in Operations & Maintenance, providing its customers thorough professional services that meet the needs of their solar power plant. EV Solar’s engineers have provided consulting and engineering services for 200+ large solar projects, totaling a combined capacity of 500+ MWs throughout Europe, Caribbean, United States and its territories. Learn more at evsolarusa.com.

About GreenPowerMonitor

GreenPowerMonitor (GPM), a DNV company offers a market-leading integrated solution of software, hardware, and services for the management and maintenance of renewable energy installations. Driven by its purpose, GPM provides digital tools to maximize the performance of renewable energy assets, optimize efficiency in the management of renewable energy portfolios, and contribute to having the greenest energy mix in the grid. GPM has a long tradition and experience in successfully managing renewable assets and providing customized solutions for our clients’ needs. Its monitoring, managing, and analytic solutions have helped more than 700 clients in 90 different countries. Learn more at www.greenpowermonitor.com

 

Preparing for Extreme Weather Events on Solar Farms

Preparing for Extreme Weather Events on Solar Farms

raptor maps hurricane ian solar site

 

Steps for building technical resilience for solar plants given the increasing frequency of extreme weather

 

Hurricane Ian’s trajectory is expected to affect roughly 800 solar farms with 14GW of peak power capacity, underlining that owners and operators of utility-scale solar installations have an increasing need to take meaningful steps to mitigate risks and preserve energy output.

A Raptor Maps analysis of Hurricane Ian’s probable path is overlaid unto the locations of large solar farms in the graphic above, illustrating the potential for damage.*

While some solar operators may believe that the only way to prepare for extreme weather is to have a good insurance policy, there are numerous ways to mitigate risk and facilitate the thoughtful operations of solar plants.

This guide outlines some of the most productive ways to prep for extreme weather and build technical resilience for your facility—thus helping to ensure power output and speed the inevitable warranty claims process.

 

Why Build Technical Resilience?

What is technical resilience, exactly, and why is it important to focus on now?

Building technical resilience is the process of implementing preventative and preparative techniques to reduce the likelihood of experiencing severe damage due to an extreme weather event. It’s important because, aside from insurance, this is the #1 way to protect solar assets.

The frequency of extreme weather events has been on the rise, and experts predict the trend will continue. This was neatly quantified by Insurance Business Magazine: “In the second quarter of 2022, there were multiple catastrophic hail events that all caused losses in excess of $50 million in the solar industry.”

Read on for the exact steps to take to prepare for the increasing risk of extreme weather.

 

Steps to Take to Prepare for Extreme Weather

 

1. Assess the Particular Risks to Your Solar Farm

The first step in building technical resilience is to identify the risks present at your facility. Is your asset located in a high risk region for one of the following: damaging hail (>2”), wildfire, tornado, or hurricane/flood? Insurance providers may be able to provide data around the likelihood of extreme weather occurring on or around your facility. Understanding the risk will allow you to make engineering decisions and procure spare parts in preparation for extreme weather. For all potential threats, it is highly recommended that you begin preparing during the construction phase.

Although extreme weather can damage many parts of the array, the most common claims involve modules, and that is what is focused on here. Most module warranty claims require the following to file a claim: (a) party making claim; (b) detailed description; (c) evidence, including photographs and data; (d) relevant serial numbers; (e) Warranty Start Date; (f) Module type; and (g) physical address. There is a lot of overlap with insurance claims, and they will require the same equipment records.

 

2. Build a Digital Twin of Your Solar Site

Building a digital twin is the first step in planning for asset operations and a potential future claim. Raptor Maps provides digital twins that are a comprehensive data model based on your as-built drawings and that act as a data warehouse for the entire history of your equipment.

 

3. Map the Serial Numbers of All Panels

Mapping serial numbers is the the next step in planning for a potential claim. When the module serial numbers are loaded into Raptor Maps digital twin, you begin building an equipment record. Loading in panel serial numbers and starting your digital twin will allow you to take an important step in simplifying and expediting any future claims.

 

4. Run Aerial Thermography Commissioning Scans

Commissioning scans are the next step in building your equipment record. Scanning your panels prior to COD will give you a snapshot of the panel health prior to operations begin. This is a key piece of data that the insurance providers and warranty holders look for when reviewing a claim, they want to know whether or not the equipment was healthy prior to the weather event.

 

5. Perform Annual or Semi-Annual Thermography Scans

Regular thermography scans will keep your equipment record for the life of the asset. Every time a scan is performed, you are continuing to build the equipment record and track it’s health over time. This historical record will be reviewed during the claim process and the more data you have, the better chance of claim approval.

 

6. Perform a Scan Following Extreme Weather

In the unfortunate event that a site gets hit by hail or other extreme weather causing damage to the modules, getting an aerial IR scan performed as quickly as possible is key to restoring the system to full production. This will give you, and your insurance providers, a conclusive report on the overall damage to the system and help move the claim forward.

 

7. Use a Software Solution for Warranty and Insurance Claims

Raptor Solar’s warranty claims feature is a software solution that aggregates all of the above in a quick and simplified application, allowing you to file claims with the click of a button. Whether it’s insurance providers or warranty holders, Raptor Maps allows O&M to streamline the claims process.

These steps are key to reducing downtime and lost production. Not all insurance policies will allow you to claim all of your lost production, therefore restoring your asset to 100% production as fast as possible is the goal of our Raptor Maps Claims feature.

 

Plan Ahead for Extreme Weather

The risk of extreme weather to solar assets is on the rise, but you can act early to prevent significant damage. Following the guidance outlined above, and working with insurers, you can rest assured that your valuable investments are protected.

* Raptor Maps analyzed NOAA’s 18th forecast for Hurricane Ian and combined it with the EIA’s database of solar farms in the area over 1MW. 

 

JinkoSolar Partners with Raptor Maps to Streamline PV Module Warranty Process

JinkoSolar Partners with Raptor Maps to Streamline PV Module Warranty Process

solar pv technician in a solar pv site field

 

Software support affirms JinkoSolar’s exemplary customer service and saves time for owners and operators

 

Raptor Maps, the leading provider of solar lifecycle management software, has released an enterprise-grade warranty claims product with launch partner JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative module manufacturers in the world with over 100 GW of module shipments.

Raptor Maps’ new software release provides a tech-forward solution to a historically complex process, reducing both labor costs and turnaround time. Robotically-captured inspection data in the Raptor Solar platform is fused with both in-field and manufacturer-supplied data. Warranty submissions allow for an auditable data log, are designed to minimize confounding variables, and enable status updates and collaboration with JinkoSolar engineers directly within the platform.

 

 

“Our U.S.-based support team takes pride in being the most trusted supplier of solar and energy storage equipment in North America,” explains Mr. Nigel Cockroft, General Manager of JinkoSolar (U.S.) Inc. “Our commitment to customer success and long-term partnerships has earned us that trust. We are proud to be Raptor Maps’ launch partner, which helps us achieve this mission and provide a top-tier experience for JinkoSolar customers.”

The newly passed Inflation Reduction Act earmarks $370 billion for renewable energy in the United States, creating unprecedented demand. Coupled with increased pressure on O&M margins, owners and operators are turning to technology-led solutions to maximize performance, reduce costs, and standardize processes.

“It is particularly exciting to have JinkoSolar as a launch partner, as they share our mission of enabling customers to scale solar operations in the long-term,” describes Raptor Maps CEO and co-founder Nikhil Vadhavkar, noting that JinkoSolar modules are accepted by 85 financial institutions. “In addition to providing better tools and guidance for boots-on-the-ground workers, we enable JinkoSolar to track in-field performance of their modules to monitor trends and proactively engage with customers.”

 

About JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd.

JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS) is one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world. JinkoSolar distributes its solar products and sells its solutions and services to a diversified international utility, commercial and residential customer base in China, the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Chile, South Africa, India, Mexico, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and other countries and regions. JinkoSolar has built a vertically integrated solar product value chain, with an integrated annual capacity of 43.0 GW for mono wafers, 42.0 GW for solar cells, and 50.0 GW for solar modules, as of June 30, 2022.

JinkoSolar has 14 productions facilities globally, 21 overseas subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, UAE, and Denmark, and global sales teams in China, the United States, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Australia, Korea, India, Turkey, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Hong Kong, as of June 30, 2022.

To find out more, please see: www.jinkosolar.com