Italy’s digital platform to monitor solar parks

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Italian state-run energy agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) has launched the “Piattaforma Performance Impianti” digital platform for monitoring PV plants with a capacity of over 1 MW.

The agency stressed the new platform is intended to create a direct channel between solar park operators to enhance the information assets the organisation has acquired. In addition, the new digital tool is aimed at enabling project owners to conduct targeted geo-analytical and comparative analysis between plants, and to visualize the physical composition of plants and estimate performances while highlighting problems due to breakdowns or early deterioration of components. Furthermore, the GSE says, the platform was conceived as a tool to share best practice.

The new service also allows plant operators to visualize economic data related to incentives granted under Italy’s five Conto Energia programs and the “Ritiro dedicato”, a regulatory system enabling the sale of PV project power output on the free market by the GSE.

Project operators who intend to use the Piattaforma sign a release form permitting visualization of data from their projects to be shared with fellow users.

To assess the efficiency of solar parks, a Performance Ratio index independent of external climatic parameters is used, the GSE added. The ratio for solar parks relying on trackers is higher as horizontal panels were envisioned as the reference model, the agency explains. For solar parks with a capacity of more than 5 MW, the platform makes available the value of the ratio starting from 2017. “This influences the aggregated reference values,” the GSE stated.

In the platform, weather data related to solar radiation and temperature – sourced from external providers – are also available.

Italian renewable energy association ANIE Rinnovabili welcomed the new service. “In 2016 and 2017,” said ANIE President Alberto Pinori, “there was a constructive discussion with the GSE that led to the definition of the procedures for the modernization and upgrading of renewable energy power plants under the incentive regime.”

Last year the GSE published rules for the technological improvement of existing PV installations. The rules, which simplified technical and bureaucratic procedures for revamping and re-powering systems installed under the country’s Conto Energia FIT scheme, spurred further PV development in Italy.