Image: RES

RES has pointed to the introduction of a new O&M tool as being behind a recent 12% boost in productivity at a 100MW solar portfolio it manages.

The rise in performance is down to a new Reliability and Operations Integrity (ROI) tool, the renewables company said, which mitigates plant reliability issues by systematically assessing and hurdling risks.

The tool came as part of a programme designed and led by RES after its appointment as asset manager of eight UK-based solar farms in 2014. Two years later its service provision was expanded to include operations and maintenance (O&M).

The ROI tool undertakes a component-by-component assessment, which measures the criticality of its function, Mean Time Between Failure, Mean Time To Repair and what the current prevention controls and failure detectability are.

RES then allocates a quantified ‘Lifetime Failure Risk’ (LFR) to each piece of equipment, allowing present risks to be prioritised and then mitigated. Steps taken during mitigation include contingency planning for repairs, proactive purchasing of replacement parts, enhanced monitoring and inspection or upgrading of components.

A second, String Energy Maximisation (SEM) tool has also been developed. It uses data analytics to monitor and analyse the performance of all solar panel strings across the site. Underperforming strings can then be identified and individual faults investigated, resulting in an improvement in excess of 1%.

Darren Cook, head of asset management at RES, said the company’s experience allowed for the creation of specialised tools that can address common issues efficiently.

“By taking this approach to improve the quality and output of the assets, we have delivered sustained improvement with a very strong performance in 2018. Under our management – combining asset management and O&M, the assets are optimised to deliver the best return possible and hopefully exceed their target yield in 2019.”