Operator Tools: Digital Monitoring or Asset Management?

Operator Tools: Digital Monitoring or Asset Management?

To keep an eye on the performance of your photovoltaic project, you have different options: going for digital monitoring and creating a “digital twin” of your system, or opt for a more commercially-oriented asset management solution. Both have specific advantages and can greatly help you in their own way. Find out here which one suits you best!

Anyone who searches for a software supporting the operation of a photovoltaic (PV) system and the business steering of an investment, will find a wide range of offers and vaguely defined terms such as monitoring, asset management or system administration.

This is a source of uncertainty, especially in the case of your first photovoltaic investment. Which one of these is necessary for a proper operation, that can help the owner to keep an eye on the performance of his investment?

Which software suits you best depends on your expectations, the number of systems involved, what you can do yourself and what you want to delegate. Economic aspects such as price-performance will of course also play a role.

Ultimately, the optimisation of profitability determines whether the full yield potential of your photovoltaic investment can be exploited.

 Monitoring provides information on technical performance

Monitoring a photovoltaic system provides insights into the systems’ technical performance. You can get an overview of the electricity yields and the consumption, and see what proportion of the electricity is self-consumed on site. The inverter manufacturer usually offers such a monitoring free of charge.

Good monitoring systems help those responsible for the technical side to identify specific technical problems: for example, if yield losses occur on a single module or on an entire string. This prevents minor problems from growing into major failures.

Thanks to this remote monitoring, unnecessary travel by technicians and their costs can possibly be saved. A ticket system sends error messages and makes it easier to record the time needed to correct identified problems. The “digital twin” of a PV system simulates, on its side, future technical and commercial performance. In balancing processes, such forecasts offer an improved basis for correct decision-making.

Asset management provides a technical and commercial overview

A complete digital asset management system provides both technical and commercial information. Ideally, you can use it to gain an overview of the business performance including relevant key figures that are decisive for the return on your photovoltaic investment. More cost-intensive software also offer metrics via integrated interfaces to the technical operation.

In some cases, solar asset management software provide workflows for the solution of frequent operational tasks. There may also be specific applications for billing, schedule monitoring and bundled document management, which allows you to keep track of information for the entire lifetime of your system.

Depending on the application, it may be necessary for the asset management software to be able to manage several photovoltaic plants if you want to build up and overview an entire solar portfolio.

Which asset management software is the right one for you?

The decision between the numerous possibilities is often not easy, because digitization constantly creates to new forms of data utilization. Ultimately, it is a pure investment decision that affects the return and value of your investment.

To find a tailor-made solution, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which functions do I need for well-founded decisions: pure reporting, analysis, evaluation tools, or simulations and forecasts? Do I prefer to combine individual special solutions or an “all-in-one” application?
  • Do I only want to control and delegate the analysis to third parties, or do I want to act on my own?
  • How deeply do I want to deal with the finer points of the technical, commercial, and administrative aspects?  essential functions. It is better to take a close look at different solutions.

Keep in mind that you may want to hire external service providers for technical and/or commercial management. It is good to know in advance what software your “service candidates” will be working with.

A combination of monitoring and asset management can make sense and enable an independent management of your own investment. We offer asset owners a free digital asset management tool:

Solar Asset Management Software

Mona Lebied

Online Marketing Manager @Milk the Sun. Passionate writer about solar energy and photovoltaic news, but also SEO tips'n'tricks. Working in the bustling startup landscape of Berlin, Germany.