While most inverter manufactures offer monitoring solutions, there are applications that require more robust monitoring than what supplier platforms can provide.
We reached out to some third-party monitoring companies to learn more about each one has to offer. Here’s what they had to say.
Markets served: residential, commercial, industrial, utility
How would you describe your offering?
Locus positions itself as data monitoring and analytics company with a full hardware stack for data acquisition. We offer some clients software only, while we offer others hardware+software (we are never just hardware). We provide metering, datalogging, networking equipment, meteorological equipment and much more depending on site requirements.
What sets you apart?
Our product line falls into three buckets: software, services and hardware.
On the software side, we position our analytics as differentiated. We’ve built our own satellite derived irradiance model, provide automated performance loss disaggregation through machine learning capabilities and run a number of different PV models to calculate whether production is ever less than it should be.
We also just launched a brand new platform. Although it may have similar functions to other platforms, it has a new intuitive design and is focused on user customization. The customization on our platform allows individual users to configure their experiance to their individual or company needs. Additionally, because or our large resi portfolio, we are able to provide a real-time API into behind-the-meter production, so utilities, ISOs and others can better predict behind-the-meter DER production and make more intelligent grid management decisions. Most other companies model these outputs but we provide actual production data, which removes typical errors produced in modeling. We also use this data to provide improved historical forecasting in different markets. We are at the tip of the iceberg for use cases with this data.
On the service side, we launched a service in residential solar (and are exploring for C&I) called active monitoring. Through a partnership with Sun System Technology (SST), Locus takes over the monitoring of the system and event identification. If we determine there is an actual issue, we issue a ticket to SST to roll a truck and resolve the issue. This provides homeowners with a turnkey solution to ensure someone is watching over their system and will come out and fix it if there is an issue. Separately, we have an internal team called “managed services” that supports customers by creating custom reports, helping customers optimize their platform and performing complex analysis on fleets or sites.
Lastly, we have a robust hardware stack serving all segments of the market, including both proprietary and third-party hardware. We are able to supply equipment for any site requirements, including hardware, engineering and programming when SCADA/Controls are required.
Do utility-scale solar projects have special monitoring needs apart from commercial and residential projects?
Since these projects are much larger, they usually require more complex networking capability. This includes fiber hardware, managed switches, remote access and other media conversion. Additionally, many larger sites have SCADA/Control or telemetry requirements dictating different hardware and engineering services. On these types of projects, we usually interface directly with utility equipment as well, so we end up serving multiple customers. Lastly, we provide full project management across these projects, and typically send on site technicians to commission the system.
Describe your inverter and storage product compatibility.
We work with all inverter and energy storage brands as long as they speak industry-standard protocols.
How does your product install?
For smaller scale systems, we provide socket meters that can connect via cellular or LAN, and also serve at data loggers. On larger systems, we provide data acquisition enclosures that can include a cell modem or connect over LAN. On the larger systems we typically provide CT-based meters, although we also interface with meters provided by others.
What kind of subscription do you offer?
We typically offer annual or five-year terms, but we offer monthly for some customers.
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