GE Power was recently chosen by Invenergy, North America’s largest, independent, privately held renewable energy company, to deploy GE’s solar asset performance management (APM) software, powered by Predix, to a 20-megawatt (MW) solar farm. The partnership will see GE’s Industrial Internet solution connects to its LV5 solar inverters, targeting to achieve over 99 percent plant availability throughout the lifespan of the renewable farm. The APM deployment will commence at the end of this year.
The digital solar APM solution from GE’s Power Conversion consists of Field Agent* for data acquisition, underpinned by GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet, and ServiceMax* for work order optimization.
“As North America’s largest independent, privately held renewable energy provider, solar is key to our energy portfolio, and we are always looking for innovative ways to deliver more cost-effective solar power,” said Alex George, Invenergy’s senior vice president, Operations & Asset Management. “Working with GE to build digitally empowered solar farms allows us to more efficiently deliver clean and affordable power to meet the increasing energy demand.”
“Connecting the digital economy has made headways in the consumer world, but it has yet to make greater strides across industry sectors. Digital tools are rising to become companies’ new competitive edge for perfecting field operations and services to cut costs and boost efficiency,” said Azeez Mohammed, president & CEO, GE’s Power Conversion. “Forward-looking industry players, such as Invenergy, have started to adopt and build a digital strategy, and we are excited to provide expert support to help them future proof their performances.”
The agreement with Invenergy also includes creation of a digital twin—or a digital replica of a physical asset built with machine learning algorithms that allows operators to better manage the performance and service of individual assets. The digital twin built for Invenergy will collect historical data from over 70,000 assets installed by GE globally. It provides a plant blueprint that is “perfectly healthy” to which real-time data is compared against for seeking data anomalies, usually a sign of fault or inefficiency. With such insights, operators are informed in advance to take corrective actions to prevent potential failure, increasing plant availability.
“Improved plant availability could translate to reduced operation and maintenance costs and increased production. That is equal to $200,000 additional worth of value per year for a 20-MW solar farm. Digitally empowered solar farms, in the near future, will see unplanned downtime minimized and therefore reach up to 99.9 percent availability, generating more revenues for plant owners,” added Mohammed.
These valuable data insights also provide solid evidence and clear guidance to operators on how to fine-tune operations to achieve optimized plant performance, further helping to guarantee the plant production outcome and its profitability.
Thanks to this increased insight into asset performance, the traditional calendar-based maintenance can be shifted to condition-based maintenance—an optimized maintenance method that is only carried out before the asset is down and when it is truly needed. As the repair work could be scheduled after sunset, it further helps reduce downtime and recovers the solar energy that would have been otherwise lost.
In addition, ServiceMax is an effective digital tool that increases productivity, raises revenues and simplifies management of field service teams. Traditional manual service and maintenance requests are therefore efficiently monitored, managed and automated, allowing faster and more effective services that are always resolved within commitments.
Source: General Electric (GE)
Date: Sep 11, 2017