Green Zone

Plant Audit optimises solar projects performance

Plant Audit is designed to obtain a complex technical and economic assessment of solar power project.

Solar industry in India is currently on an unprecedented growth trajectory. While the industry is caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle to reach the lowest tariff rate, this battle could either be a blessing or the stepping stones to a disaster for the entire renewable sector, if quality is compromised. The future holds in store for the industry a utopia where long term power purchase will be executed at rates cheaper than conventional thermal power or be left with a graveyard of Megawatts of under-performing, inferior quality solar power plants. In either case, power houses of the industry are in no mood to back off from aggressive bidding. The industry will have to evolve itself. It will be survival of the fittest, in terms of executing projects with superior engineering, ability to ensure cheaper finance, buying out older assets, liquidating NPAs, M&As etc. This evolution will lead to the birth of several new companies which will provide one of its kind services for solar projects. The service that stands out the most presently is ‘Plant Audit’ for solar projects.

Plant Audit is a service designed and developed around the need to identify, record and locate the primary source of anomalies. To achieve optimum generation and maintain a higher performance ratio, it is imperative to study the active performance of the system in reference with designed energy output to understand the health of the plant. Plant Audit scan assist in pinpointing the root cause of decline in generation, accelerated degradation of modules, frequent equipment breakdowns, abrasion of structures among many other activities and recommend necessary corrective action. Thorough inspection ensures that the plant adheres to quality installation, code compliance and conformance to design and safety criteria.

This service is a pressing need for all consumers who are putting up a new project or who are looking to assess the health of the existing plant as a better preventive maintenance activity or by investors who are planning to buy or sale the existing asset. This service will be very crucial considering the tight margins on return with the present tariff rate. It is now imperative to have negligible shutdown hours, very low equipment failure rate and as-expected generation predicted during the tendering stage to evade a loss-making IRR for the project.

  • Decline in generation
  • Accelerated module degradation
  • Frequent equipment breakdowns
  • Abrasion of structures
  • Purchase or sale of assets.

Plant Audit service encompasses all segments of the project. From review of design and engineering drawings, to visual checks of the equipment and materials, running specialised tests at site on individual components like thermography and IV-Curve test on modules, verifying O&M records, understanding the fault patterns and spare part consumption. Furthermore, advanced tools and techniques are used for an in-depth review of the condition of the equipment to test critical components and measure key plant performance indicators. A techno-commercial analysis is derived to assess the true life expectancy of the plant and highlight the investment risk based on the audit report.

Companies providing plant audits act as an independent third party auditor to provide a holistic assessment of the project that helps investors to make well informed investments. A transparent and unbiased opinion on the condition of the plant is provided. Excelsior Engineering Solutions guides the project owners to achieve investment security through risk minimisation and increases project bankability through their Plant Audit services.

About Excelsior Engineering Solutions
Mumbai based Excelsior Engineering Solutions is a provider of several niche services for the solar sector. Along with design and engineering, PMC and owners engineering, the company also provides Plant Audit, Retrofitting and Quality Management for rooftop and ground mount projects. So far, Excelsior has provided these services to over 750 MW of solar projects spread across 12 states of India.

For more details, visit www.excleng.com

Authored by__

Uday Doshi,
Founder,
Excelsior Engineering Solutions

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