Lightsource Renewable Energy ensures transparent and reliable solar performance assessment

Highlights

Country

UK

Products

  • pvPlanner
  • Data delivery web service (API)

 

PV phases

Planning, operation, maintenance

Highlights

  • Europe’s largest developer and operator of PV projects
  • Powers 350,000 households in UK

About Lightsource

Lightsource Renewable Energy is Europe’s leading solar energy generator. Founded in 2010, Lightsource has achieved an unrivalled track record in the deployment of solar power installations on ground and rooftops across the UK. The company offers full service capability from initial design through to long term operations and maintenance. 

The challenge

Relying solely on pyranometer data for PR calculations resulted in additional tasks for the Performance Team, as well as producing unreliable performance metrics.

Lightsource typically deploy 2-4 pyranometers at each PV power plant under their management. Despite deploying multiple pyranometers they experienced gaps in irradiation data. “Gaps are usually limited to few days in a year. However some situations, such as data logger malfunctions can potentially result in gaps of several days” says Anne Laure Bichot, Performance Manager at Lightsource.

The performance team was initially filling gaps with data from nearby PV stations, however this involved lot of manual effort and did not always give acceptable results because nearby PV stations do not always provide irradiation data at a similar tilt/azimuth and are not always in a 20km radius of the PV site with gaps.  Besides having gaps in data, pyranometer measurements were also sometimes erroneous because of soiled or non-calibrated sensors, resulting in unreliable PR calculations.

The solution

Anne and her team required satellite-derived irradiance data that is reliable, accepted by technical advisors, and easy to integrate with their monitoring platform via API. Anne’s team was also looking for a partner that could provide dedicated technical and customer support.

Lightsource was able to implement a SolarGIS data feed into their monitoring platform within one week. Since Feb 2014, Lightsource have been receiving SolarGIS irradiation estimates on a daily basis for 200+ PV power plants in their portfolio.

“SolarGIS data gives confidence to both us and our investors that our PV performance metrics are reliable, and also helps us achieve a consistent approach towards performance assessment across our entire portfolio” says Anne. 

“We chose Solargis mainly because independent comparisons showed Solargis to be the most accurate irradiation database. We also performed comparisons with our own measurements and saw that claims of Solargis were indeed true – Solargis data matched very well with ground measurements” Anne Laure Bichot, Performance Manager at Lightsource

The results

Lightsource achieves reliable and consistent performance assessment across its PV portfolio with SolarGIS

Anne and her team have identified the following key benefits of using SolarGIS for performance assessment:

1. It is easier to identify errors in ground-based irradiation measurements. Data from pyranometers are now marked as suspicious when they deviate from SolarGIS estimates beyond the uncertainty range of SolarGIS data.

2. With SolarGIS, Lightsource can use same source of irradiation data for calculating performance metrics for all PV systems, and therefore achieve consistent approach to performance assessment across its portfolio.

3. As SolarGIS data is independent, Lightsource can assure investors and banks that reporting of performance of their assets is transparent and reliable.