March 5, 2019

Should PV monitoring still cost money in the future?

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The PV service industry is under massive cost pressure, which is also reflected in falling O&M prices. Prices for O&M contracts have fallen significantly in recent years: between 2016 and 2017 by as much as 30%. We know this from a study we conducted, but also from publicly available sources. The study also showed that the fall in prices will continue during 2018. We also asked whether this trend was also reflected in monitoring costs. After all, monitoring costs often account for up to 15 percent of O&M’s total costs and are currently around 0.80 €/kWp/year. According to our survey, in which almost 100 EPC companies and O&M service providers from the Commercial & Industrial segment took part, monitoring prices did not fall proportionally enough to the market and therefore represent a growing burden.

Preisentwicklung PV-Monitoring-Software

SOLYTIC has understood its customers’ need for optimisation. With 0.20 €/kWp/year, we meet the needs of our customers for a professional monitoring software and deliver a lean solution that meets modern monitoring requirements. This is the only way to ensure an attractive price.

We are also working on self-learning algorithms based on technologies such as IoT and Artificial Intelligence. These will reduce operator’s time spent in front of a screen analysing events and performance. This will enable our customers to keep pace with their growth in the coming years and still operate sustainably with their current team. Operators will then be able to significantly reduce the monitoring effort per asset and plan their maintenance operations even better. Everyday questions are to be supported here, such as: “Is it worth spending money now to clean a photovoltaic system or would there be an optimal time?” or “Is a drop in performance really due to the devices and is it worth sending maintenance personnel to the asset or not?” As the use of digital tools progresses, the intelligent analyses will bring us ever closer to predictive maintenance.

We are convinced that digitalisation will make traditional monitoring much easier. This will lead to a drastic drop in prices and ultimately push the currently still common services, such as the visualisation of historical performance data for manual analysis, completely into the background. In our opinion, monitoring as we know it today will only remain as a back-up in the future.

What’s your opinion on the potential of digitalisation of the PV sector? Should monitoring as-we-know-it still have a price in the future? Would you fully trust a software program?

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Johannes Burgard

Founder & CEO

Johannes Burgard is responsible for product development and strategic direction. Prior to this, Burgard managed projects in the context of Industry 4.0 in an international production environment, at CLAAS and Airbus. Burgard holds a degree in engineering from RWTH Aachen University and an MBA at the ESADE Business School.