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Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)

Development of comprehensive performance evaluation and operations and maintenance strategy for the Indian solar sector

PI: Dibin Chandran (, World Institute of Sustainable Energy
Partner: Deepak Sagi, John F. Welch Technology Center, GE/India
Project dates: December 2016  - November 2018

Project Overview:

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Seminar Inauguration welcome speech by Mr. Sanju Thomas, Head, Center for Solar Energy- WISE
This project is aimed at developing a strategic plan and methodology for carrying out performance evaluation and operations and maintenance (O&M) activities for solar power projects in India. Current practices and strategies follow common conventional methods like data collection, analysis, and scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. Although most of the country's current power production is from conventional energy resources, there are plans to increase the contribution of non-conventional power sources in the future. Sharp fluctuations in production from these non-conventional sources would have an impact on the total performance of the power grid, so in this context it is better to handle predictive maintenance and performance forecasting in a strategic manner.

The main objectives of the project are (1) development of a performance evaluation strategy considering all relevant factors, (2) development of standard O&M methods, (3) capacity building of government and private stakeholders for the long-term implementation of the strategies, (4) design of policy recommendations based on the project outcomes, and (5) provision of support for the Government of India to achieve its 2022 solar target.

Documentation of the performance evaluation method and O&M strategies for solar power projects should be useful in measuring performance guarantees, as an assessment of system performance, for verification of the performance model that can be applied to a new system. Although the measurement of this performance metric might appear to be straightforward, there are a number of subtleties associated with variations in weather and imperfect data collection that complicate the determination and data analysis.

The performance assessment is most valuable when it is completed with very low uncertainty and when the subtleties are systematically addressed; currently no standard exists to guide this process.

In the Indian scenario, a single performances analysis including O&M strategy will not make any difference because of the geographical complexity of the country and the different climate conditions found in each major region. Up to now, there has been no region-specific analysis, development of performance evaluation standards, or creation of O&M manuals in India.

This team's novel approach in performance evaluation and O&M strategy preparation should help to make a direct impact on the methods and strategies used by solar photovoltaic customers and developers during the implementation phase, while the indirect impact will be on government authorities, helping them to adjust policies accordingly. This research should have an impact on technology solutions so as to strengthen power production from solar photovoltaics at both the utility and small captive project scales.

Summary of Project Events

In this reporting period ending December 2017, major parts of the on-site data collection activities have been completed in the last quarter. In October, project team members mainly started with the analysis of the collected data from the sites visited during the last quarter which is around 79 sites. For the analysis, these sites are divided based on states. Each team member is assigned with 4 to 5 states for analysis purpose. The following parameters are analysed during the process:

- Type of power plant, plant components and technology
- Sites present condition and initial condition
- Capacity Utilization Factor of the power plant
- Major O&M activities of the sites
- Major issues faced by the power plant owner during O&M

All the above factors are being analysed on a single platform. In the month of November, team members started analyzing the site specific O&M issues and started research on probable causes of power plant issues and basic rectification methods available. The team members also visited government agencies in Delhi.

The project team will continue carrying out the research activities and make plans for next quarter activities. The main focus will be to identifying O&M and Performance Evaluation best practices. For this the team is planning to purchase some IEC standards and books and also identify major component manufactures for the industrial visits.

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Mr. Dibin Chandran and Prof. Anil Kottantharayil during the O&M Seminar in Pune

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