Analytics and benchmarking software finds 2.63% of power affected across 20GW.
BOSTON, MA, March 10, 2022 — Raptor Maps, the leading provider of solar lifecycle management software, published their fourth annual report on global PV system underperformance. The company used machine learning to analyze 2021 data from unmanned and manned aircraft inspections across 20 GW of utility and C&I systems. The proprietary dataset spans 66 million modules in 32 countries including those from a range of installation types, geographies and climates. JinkoSolar, First Solar, Trina, Canadian Solar, JA Solar and Hanwha were the most common manufacturers in the dataset along with other BloombergNEF Tier-1 modules.
The report is available for download here.
The analysis reveals a somewhat surprising increase in power affected from anomalies, rising to 2.63% in 2021 from 1.85% in 2020, a more than 100 MW energy production impact. This increase is driven by string, inverter, combiner, module and tracker anomalies.
Classifications in the report span functional units including off-nominal inverters, environmental conditions including overgrown vegetation and module or sub-module findings including activated bypass diodes. The report breaks out the most common PV anomalies at the system level and at the module or sub-module level.
“Our inspection data shows that solar assets are becoming more anomalous each year,” explains Eddie Obropta, CTO and co-founder of Raptor Maps. “These findings against the backdrop of increased costs of capital and supply chains underscores the need to use advanced technology to maximize power output. Operational excellence is no longer enough. Solar financiers, asset owners and asset managers must leverage data and analytics to make intelligent decisions that reduce soft costs.”
Raptor Maps’ report finds that companies sought more in-depth inspections data in 2021. The percentage of drone inspections that were Comprehensive — the most granular inspection level — increased from 21% in 2020 to 24% in 2021. Increasingly more parties are also accessing PV inspection data. Inspection data owners shared findings with an average of 27 additional users in 2021 — indicating increased communication and collaboration.
In the solar energy industry, aerial inspections are used across all phases of the solar lifecycle at greater frequency. Asset owners and engineering, procurement and construction companies require inspections during commissioning to de-risk assets, remediate issues, create a quantitative baseline and avoid liquidated damages. Operations and maintenance companies integrate aerial inspections into annual preventative maintenance as the owner-preferred alternative to current-voltage (I-V) curve tracing. Counterparties — including module manufacturers, engineers, financiers and others — also use aerial inspections for warranty claims, insurance claims, project benchmarks, due diligence and more. Raptor Maps fuses aerial inspection image data captured under specific conditions with digital twins of solar assets to offer a complete picture of solar system performance.
A February report published by the IPCC identified that impacts from climate change are already taking place worldwide. As countries progress towards a renewable energy future, and investments in solar energy scale rapidly, financiers, developers, owners and operators will increasingly require more sophisticated inspections, software and data analytics to ensure their assets are properly constructed and profitably maintained.
About Raptor Maps
Raptor Maps offers advanced analytics, insights and productivity software for the entire solar lifecycle. The Raptor Solar software platform features a digital twin of your solar sites, aerial thermal inspections, data standardization and normalization, serial number mapping, warranty claim features, equipment records, mobile tools and more — all powered by their industry-leading data model. With intelligence for the entire solar industry — asset owners, managers, O&M, engineers, EPCs, financiers and OEMs — you can standardize and compare data across installations, increase performance and ultimately lift ROI. To learn more, visit RaptorMaps.com.