L&T Infotech and GE Digital as IIC members will deploy the Digital Testbed at solar plant in Rajasthan, India

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the U.S. headquartered organization, which is transforming business and society by accelerating the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), has announced the Digital Solar Plant testbed initiative in India on November 08.

The testbed is led by IIC members Larsen & Toubro Infotech (LTI), a global technology consulting and digital solutions company, and General Electric (GE) Digital. It will deploy in multiple phases at an LTI Solar plant in Rajasthan, India, beginning in early 2018.

The digital solar plant testbed includes LTI’s solution framework for solar plants with GE Digital’s Predix platform integration. It provides the necessary insights and dashboards for plant status, forecasting, data analytics and KPIs.

The testbed improves the ability of solar plants to reliably supply energy to power grids by accurately forecasting electricity generated through solar irradiation, to provide insights, optimize plant output and reduce maintenance expenses by performing real-time asset condition-monitoring.

“Utility companies face several issues as global interest in solar energy soars – from mitigating operational and regulatory risks to maintaining efficiencies and improving capacity utilization,” said Rohit Kedia, Chief Business Officer, Manufacturing and ERP, LTI.

“With LTI’s expertise in IoT solution deployments coupled with GE Digital’s Predix platform, utility companies now have a technological proving ground to successfully manage the growing demand for solar energy,” Kedia added.

The testbed is an intelligent platform that drives optimal plant performance for operators, asset managers, and owners under complex grid & high-end energy forecasting requirements.

Shyam Varan Nath, Director, Technology Integrations, IoT/Industrial Internet at GE Digital said, “It will help solar plant utilities forecast energy requirements. Using real-time data analytics, utilities can also ensure that all of their assets are working properly and that their plants are running efficiently.”

According to IIC, the forecasting accuracy improvement to 85% (from current trends of 60%-70%) will save utilities around $3 million annually (estimate based on current tariff penalties and assuming 40,000 MW grid connected solar capacity in India by 2021-22). Moreover, 20% Improvement in CUF (capacity utilization factor) would increase annual revenue by $33 million for all solar utilities (estimated at current tariff INR 4/kwh).

IIC mentioned that annual maintenance cost on solar plant is around $1000-1500/MW and solar utilities are going to spend $50 million/year on O&M (Operations & Maintenance) in India market alone. Therefore, 30% reduction in O&M expenses will save around $15 million/year for utilities managers, IIC estimated.