Solargis validates ground-based measurements for Cleantech Solar

cleantech solar

Location

India and Southeast Asia

Service

Provision of satellite data to validate ground-based measurements

PV stage

Operation

Outcomes

  • Satellite data provided to validate and support performance
  • Improved certainty of production estimates
  • Swift, accurate data gives confidence in expansion into new regions for PV technology

About Cleantech Solar

Cleantech Solar is Asia’s leading solar developer and operator in the Commercial and Industrial space, with over 170 experienced staff drawn from leading solar developers, PV module manufacturers, construction companies, research institutions and financial advisers globally. Working across 500+ sites in 7 countries spanning Southeast Asia and India, Cleantech Solar manages a rapidly expanding 500 MW asset portfolio in various stages of development, construction and operations, supporting the fast-expanding regional solar market.

Founded in 2014, Cleantech Solar provides complete turnkey financing, design, installation, and full-life operation and maintenance of the solar PV systems at zero investment by the customer. The company’s ability to deliver best-in-class solar solutions has made them the trusted partner of choice for industry leaders from across multitudes of sectors ranging from automotive, F&B, construction to retail and logistics.

cleantech rooftop

Challenge: atmospheric conditions hinder data accuracy

Ground-based measurements give solar developers and operators crucial insight into the performance of their assets. They play an essential role in understanding asset health and driving informed, profitable operational decision making.

Challenging climates and highly polluted areas, particularly dusty regions and industrial zones, can make accurately assessing solar resource at ground level difficult. Cleantech Solar, as a C&I developer, owns and operates many sites at these industrial areas, where nearby air quality reduces the accuracy of performance assessments. The challenge is compounded during the dry season, where reduced rainfall leads to less accurate readings due to dirty sensors which are impossible to clean daily across tens of sites.

Solution: satellite data to push forward improved understanding of performance

Since Cleantech Solar operates hundreds of PV projects across Asia, continuously cleaning irradiance sensors was not feasible. Additionally, the number of sites in the distributed business becomes overwhelming, with small sites also being part of the portfolio (e.g. a petrol retail station). The company needed a way to ensure accurate performance readings from its assets without expensive and time-consuming maintenance work.

The business owns dedicated, strategic meteorological stations at its main hubs, such as Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Singapore, Bangkok, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, but recognised the need to validate data gathered at its various sites.

Cleantech Solar therefore engaged Solargis to provide extensively validated, highly granular solar resource data to verify asset performance in climatically challenging areas. Solargis data has an uncertainty half that of the industry average, and delivers unparalleled spatial and temporal resolutions of 250m and sub-hourly respectively – reducing resource risk for developers and operators such as Cleantech Solar.

Outcome: enhanced data, maximised gains

Solargis enhanced Cleantech Solar’s data pool, bolstering ground-level irradiance readings with accurate satellite data to give the business greater oversight of its assets to isolate and address underperformance. On average, Solargis has found that a 1% increase in asset performance translates to additional revenue of EUR 1,000/MW/year. For a portfolio the size of Cleantech Solar’s, the benefits can quickly mount.

Solargis also supported Cleantech Solar with API-based daily irradiation estimates, facilitating strategic decision making by the management to increase financial performance. By improving transparency while simultaneously boosting performance, Cleantech Solar can justify its strategy to investors with increased confidence.

“With Solargis’ satellite data, we can validate the performance of our PV systems even for the most environmentally-challenging sites in Southeast Asia. These operational conditions are less common in established solar markets such as the US, Europe and Japan. Solargis data has therefore supported the continued roll-out of our fleet across new global solar frontiers.” Dr. André Nobre, Head of Operations and Maintenance at Cleantech Solar

Dr. Nobre concluded: “This data is of precious value to us as an alternative reading of weather conditions at our facilities, allowing us to have an open conversation with our Board and Investors about the current state of our assets, and, ultimately, enhancing the trust which is so integral to our business.”