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#1 Active Continuous Monitoring results in 15% uptime increase
One of our school district clients installed 20+ solar PV systems utilizing 40+ inverters. Through our investigative approach to system monitoring, we were able to determine that many of the inverters were temporarily shutting down with the same internal error code. A further investigation determined that the inverters were overly sensitive to changes in current during morning start up. We worked with the inverter manufacturer to proactively upgrade the firmware of every inverter in the district, and all similar models for other clients in our portfolio, even those that had not yet been affected. This change permanently resolved the issue, which otherwise would have reduced performance indefinitely.
#2 Detailed Data Analysis Earns Solar Owner $60,000
Another school district client experienced an inverter failure caused by a power surge from the utility. While the inverter protected the solar panels from any damage, the utility power surge caused damage to the mechanical equipment at the school. By performing analysis of the inverter data, examining the utility voltage data and supporting information we were able to pinpoint the exact time and cause of the issue. As a result, we were able to provide supporting documentation for our client’s successful insurance claim, detailing the cause of and party responsible for the power surge damage. Finally, by quantifying the lost value of the production, the district received an additional “make whole” reimbursement for $60,000 in lost solar production.
#3 Performance Guarantee Evaluation Uncovers Unpaid Production Shortfall Payments
TerraVerde was recently hired to review the historical performance of several solar PV systems for a California water district. Our performance review determined that one of the solar PV systems which was under contract with a 95% performance guarantee had only produced about 90% of the expected energy for two consecutive years. There had been no shortfall payments made to the District, and the PPA provider’s annual performance report indicated that the system was performing above the 95% level. Upon further analysis, TerraVerde determined the Provider’s assessment was based on a miscalibrated irradiance sensor at the PV system’s weather station, which was understating how much sunlight the system was receiving. We recalculated the weather-adjusted expected energy per the terms of the performance guarantee using weather data from several reliable sources in the same area, all of which revealed that the District was owed approximately $30,000 in shortfall energy production payments.
#4 Savings Analysis Provides Transparency to Concerned District
A school district with a 3-year-old solar PV system was concerned that the system wasn’t saving the district money because of a large annual electricity bill True Up. We were able to determine, by analyzing energy usage data in each 15-minute interval during a one year True Up period, that the system was saving the district about 10% of its electricity bill. More importantly, by switching to solar, the district had avoided a potential move to a higher cost rate utility structure, which would have led to a 25% increase in annual electricity bills. This information enabled the district to stop worrying whether their combined utility and PPA bills were higher than they should have been, and provided the transparency that staff, Board and other stakeholders required.
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