Earlier this year we opened a competition to find the oldest pyranometer still operational in the field. Now that the competition has closed and we have sorted through all the applications we can announce the winner is a CM5 from 1971. You probably want to know more, just like me, about the history of this pyranometer that originally started measuring in Canada and ended up in Germany for a second life.
While finalizing the last details of DustIQ I’m also getting ready to show it at some key events in solar energy: Intersolar South America in Sao Paolo, Solar Power International in Las Vegas, the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Amsterdam and Solar Asset Management in Milan. What I’ve learned so far at events is that we can talk about it for hours, but DustIQ is actually fairly simple in principle.
The solar industry has been grasping at the low hanging fruit for more than a decade now. Developing innovative, game changing products has recently been a challenge for many solar technology companies. Instead, the industry has seen incremental cost reductions driven mostly by scale and process efficiencies.
A month after the official launch of DustIQ at Intersolar Europe the enquiries keep coming in, but we did not forget about the contest. Before and during Intersolar you could register to win a free DustIQ. From the many registrations we received we have selected 3 winners!
Last month I had a very interesting visit to Thailand.
We have a new distributor for the country, Precision Controls (Thailand) Ltd., and they had undertaken to install and operate a Kipp & Zonen ACFR factory-standard automatic calibration facility for pyranometers. Challenge number one was that they were in the process of moving into the first building to be occupied in a very nice new business park, and it was still under construction.
Luckily, some of the Precision Controls (PC) people had visited Delft in April and seen the calibration equipment and understood the preparations needed. The shipment is rather large, two full-size pallets and very heavy, and they could not receive it until the third week of May. They also had to prepare a suitable calibration laboratory and install a 24/7 VPN connection to exchange data with the calibration server at the factory – and there was no fibre-optic cable into the whole technology park.
I used to train installers of (mostly residential) PV systems, and tell them that half of the quality of a PV system is in good materials and design, and the other half is in proper installation. For utility solar systems there is even a “third half” (if there is such a thing); maintenance!
A good measure of the quality of a PV plant is the Performance Ratio: it separates “the good, the bad and the ugly” solar systems from each other. Find out more in our whitepaper: 6 key influences that determine PV performance ratios.
Irradiance measurements to calculate the Performance Ratio (PR) for solar parks sometimes cause controversy: A few years ago, I visited an O&M conference, where cheating with irradiance measurements was openly discussed on the podium. There were about 200 attendees in the room; And after a presentation on irradiance measurement at a solar conference, our R&D manager was asked whether Kipp & Zonen could make instruments that were less (!) accurate.
This shows that irradiance measurements can cause headaches; but they are absolutely necessary for calculating the Performance Ratio. Besides the output generated relative to the solar irradiance received on the panels, PR is the figure looked at by most players involved in the PV power plant business.
I’m still excited about the launch of DustIQ at Intersolar Europe. The response we received was overwhelming. Not only that the amount of visitors was higher than expected, but the feedback on DustIQ was incredible and the whole team left Intersolar proud and full of adrenaline. I would like to share some of the responses with you.
In most PV plant monitoring software you can choose the definition of the Performance Ratio (PR). So, a specific PV plant can have different Performance Ratios at the same time? Yes, and no…
Puzzled? Is Performance Ratio misleading? You don’t have to be puzzled, and no, Performance Ratio is not about misleading, it is about facts! Read our whitepaper – 6 key influences that determine PV performance ratios – to get a better understanding.
Two weeks ago already, Intersolar’s 2017 show was over. It was a good exhibition. Lots of innovations could be found and, as always, Intersolar Europe is a very efficient place for networking and relationship management. Our new innovation DustIQ proved to be very welcome to the solar industry.
It was a pleasure to meet people from all over the world at the booth and I value all the feedback that we received. Let me share some of the insights I have obtained for DustIQ and RT1.