Marta Torralba 28-Sep-2021 13:47:09 4 min read

How can I analyse the behaviour of PV inverters?

PV Technology has developed significantly since 2010. Currently, there are many PV plant configurations for the same capacity, using different types of inverter technologies (string, central, master-slave and module). Almost every PV plant is unique at inverter level.

The inverter is one of the most important and complex components of a PV plant. It converts the direct current of the PV modules into grid-compliant alternating current and feeds this into the public grid.

As PV technology has advanced, portfolios are becoming more heterogeneous and the analysis of the performance at inverter level is becoming more complex.

There are around 36 variables per inverter. The sheer volume of information means that Asset Managers have an extremely challenging job when addressing the main energy production loss drivers at inverter level. So, how can we analyse the performance and the issues faced at inverter level? How do we know which inverters are affected? What do we use as a reference figure? How much should the inverter be producing based on the irradiance?

These questions may be relatively easy to answer for small, homogeneous portfolios with the same inverters. By opening the SCADA for each site, you can quickly see values of the inverter.

However, as renewable energy portfolios become increasingly heterogeneous, addressing production losses becomes more complicated. Different inverter types, manufacturers, multiple string configurations, different tracker technologies and communication systems, all need to be considered when assessing where production losses are coming from.

Data collection, standardisation and storage are all key to ensuring a clear overview of inverter behaviour, to prevent and analysis issues at inverter level.

Our Inverter Analysis Tools, built on top of data governed by our Digital Twins, provides a quick way to view anomalies affecting renewable energy portfolios at inverter level. Digital Twins allow us to define the manufacturer specification and plant configuration of all inverters, in order to create a reference. Additionally, it allows us to identify the production impact in the single line diagram of the plant. This system provides a bird's eye view of how the inverters are performing.  

Digital Twin information at inverter level:

  • Inverter Manufacturer/Model datasheet
  • DC Input
  • AC Output
  • Efficiency
  • MPPT Specification
  • Cabin and IGBT Temperature
  • RISO (Insolation Resistance)
  • Frequency

Understanding how the inverters are performing is the first step to prevent issues arising. From there you can assess what technical issues must be addressed first and how expenses and investments should be prioritised.

Without the right governance structures, the management of portfolio data is a never-ending challenge.

Through our unique Digital Twins methodology, renewable assets are integrated into one easy-to-use online platform. This makes the collection, standardisation, and storage of data much simpler. The Inverter Analysis Tools allows you to analyse all the variables from the inverters.

If you want to test our Inverter Analysis Tools to analyse the performance of your panels, contact us today.

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Marta Torralba

An Industrial Engineer with extensive experience in the management of remote incidents, communications in high and medium voltage networks, capture and digitization of the low voltage network.