OperationsPerformance AnalysisUncategorized

GLOBAL F.E.D. – The Power of Solar Site Data

Ordinarily, increased mass doesn’t lead to increased precision and efficiency—

–but when it does, you’ve probably got something remarkable.

This seems especially so with companies. As companies grow large, many lose their ability to tailor their services to each and every one of their customers.

NovaSource is an exception.

We’re larger than ever with approximately 18 GW of capacity under management—(equivalent to 1.6% of the 1,117 GW that powers the United States[1])—and we’re more precise, efficient, and customer-focused than ever, as well.

The reason is our energy asset data warehouse, the Global Field Exposure Database (or Global F.E.D. for short).

Global F.E.D. is the backbone of our company; inextricable and essential, its growth and our company’s growth are one in the same.

Currently the second largest renewable energy asset data warehouse in the world, Global F.E.D. is massive, containing over 400 billion rows of time-series data and over 51 TB of unique data in total. The scope becomes easier to wrap your head around when you pop the hood and find that it’s not just a single database, but rather a database of databases: a network of linked information about power plant assets, the data that they’ve generated, and the data that has been generated about them over the course of their lifetime with NovaSource Power Services.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Global F.E.D.

Global F.E.D. began its life in 2010 true to its name: a single database constructed to provide exposure to field data generated by the first utility-scale solar power plants ever built. And as the market for utility-scale solar power plants grew by orders of magnitude over the following decade, so did Global F.E.D.

NovaSource’s data engineering team horizontally scaled Global F.E.D. as plant after plant came online and into the care of the organization. In so doing, NovaSource’s data engineering team standardized the schema into which the disorganized data generated by different power plant assets was stored and created a templated format into which this data could be configured to flow.

Thanks to their efforts, Global F.E.D. is capable of receiving, organizing, storing and analyzing all of the data generated by the hundreds of thousands of individual assets that make up the solar power plants that we help manage–as well as the new assets that we onboard each day!

In fact, Global F.E.D. currently contains time-series sensor data collected from 229 power plant controllers, 481 soiling-monitoring stations, 785 reference modules, 1549 energy meters, 2,212 weather stations, 5161 module surface temperature sensor, 8,213 transformers, 15,066 inverter modules, 19,016 inverters, 169,194 current transducers, 104,885 tracker controllers and 470,042 tracker actuators for the period of their subscription to NovaSource’s O&M services.

By bringing all of this data together and into a standardized format, NovaSource’s data engineering team enables NovaSource’s data science team to develop and deploy algorithms that drive innovation, precision, efficiency, and customer focus. Ask our data scientists, and they’ll tell you that Global F.E.D is a playground to work in. The standardization of the data lets them easily find exactly what they’re looking for–and then run all the analyses they want across an arbitrarily large number of assets operating at plants all across the globe—and as they do they’re encouraged to innovate. And they have.

This is how we stack so leanly at sites. Thanks to Global F.E.D. and the insights it provides, we know exactly what’s going on everywhere, so we know exactly where we need to send our technicians in the same way that an Uber driver knows exactly where to pick up their next fare.

For comparison, working without data centralization and standardization forces managers to log in to and out of their assets, one asset at a time, anytime they want to even try to perform their data tasks. Considering how many power plants are in a portfolio and how many assets are in operation at just a single solar power plant, this can seriously erode an owner’s bottom line. (The apt analogy here is the way ye olde taxi cab drivers have to burn gas and time just looking for their next rider.)

As Global F.E.D. scales horizontally with the addition of every new site, the standardized data format allows us to build applications on top of the network at any time. And we do. Maybe you read our recent post about SunStreams. There’s also our owner’s portal, PlantView, and our log-taking platform, PV Tools. Global F.E.D. has served as a critical backend component for these and multiple other applications that power the operations of NovaSource O&M.

Thanks to Global F.E.D., NovaSource is positioned to continue innovating more effectively than any other company in the industry, and that’s exactly what we intend.

If you’re already a customer, this was all just to let you know we’re working hard to be of service. If you’re not a customer, maybe we can change that.

Ready to get started?