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DAS Solutions for Solar PV Plants

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DAS Systems for Commercial & Industrial (C&I) / Distributed Generation (DG)

As a top DAS system provider within the United States, Nor-Cal Controls offers DAS solutions with simple, open-architecture design, making them scalable and control-ready. Operators can manually reset or start/stop inverters through our DAS as well as control real power (kW) production to adhere to utility requirements. They can also integrate software or hardware from a different provider into our DAS to implement new automation of system components or other monitoring applications. More importantly, our DAS lowers your cost of ownership by automating system features and maximizing plant efficiency when possible.

With Nor-Cal Controls, you won’t get stuck in monthly service or subscription fees. We’ll build a DAS that meets your specific data collection needs, assist with the implementation, and completely hand over the system to you after fully completing full site testing and verifications. Integrate as many as third-parties as you can. The systems may support a handful of industry standard protocols including: Modbus, DNP3, OPC-UA, Serial (RS232/485), TCP/IP, and FTP get the best combination of components for superior performance.

Real-Time Data Acquisition

Nor-Cal’s DAS systems are designed to continuously monitor performance data and alarms for all PV system devices, including all on-site inverters (central or string), MV transformers, revenue meters, meteorological (MET) station sensors and/or Intelligent Equipment Devices (IEDs).

Automatic Alarm Notification

Automatically receive critical alarm notifications (Email and SMS Text) for all devices monitored by the DAS system. Configure alarm recipients and escalation schemes, based on alarm priority.

Fully Customizable

As with all of Nor-Cal’s integrated solutions, each DAS solution is fully customizable and tailored to meet all project and application-specific requirements. Using best practices within the industry, our solutions are designed to meet our customer’s unique needs and preferences.

Control Ready

As a leading SCADA system and controls integrator in solar PV, Nor-Cal understands the importance of having the ability to control PV system devices at a moment’s notice if dictated as a requirement by the Owner, Host Utility and/or Independent System Operator (ISO).

Adding control functionality may be necessary in the future as a grid stability requirement, however, some operators like having the ability to manually reset or start/stop inverters from a DAS HMI graphical interface if desired.

Each DAS system is “control-ready”, robust, and scalable for control. Adding manual and/or automated control for any and all site devices can be done at any time at a minimal cost. *Limited to the capabilities of the selected inverters and required devices to be controlled.*

Open Architecture; No “Black Box” Proprietary Solutions

As with all of Nor-Cal’s integrated solutions, our DAS solutions are all open architecture (open source), utilizing accessible, off the shelf, hardware and software components.

Customers have the peace of mind knowing that their open-source DAS will continue to be supported throughout the life of their project, with many accessible options regarding maintenance and upgrades into the future. In addition, our systems help to keep your data secure by implementing proper network administration to prevent unwanted access to the system(s).

Cloud-Based, Data Monitoring and Performance Dashboards

Leveraging Nor-Cal’s Canary Labs Axiom software (a cloud-based data monitoring solution), users can securely log in to their customized dashboard to view real-time and historical data or alarms for all PV sites under their operating portfolio.

View high-level information and data for all sites through the Enterprise Fleet dashboard, with the ability to drill into individual sites to view site-specific information, including geographical location. You can also view Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), performance ratio trends, view alarm information, and run historical reports.

Seamlessly Integrate with Third-Parties

Integrate with third-party off-takers, including Utility entities and O&M providers, utilizing our built-in OPC and Modbus device communication protocols.

Key Roles of Data Monitoring in Solar PV Plants

Data monitoring in a utility-scale operation of PV arrays serves two key roles: recording and reporting.

Data Recording

Data logging or recording provides insight into how the solar facility is performing. DAS collects real-time data from various components in the plant to measure their current performance and compare it with the expected energy output based on temperature, irradiance, and other weather readings. This comparison helps operators identify when and where underproduction occurs within the plant — and how much energy it fails to generate.

For instance, if the measured energy production appears to be only two-thirds of the expected value in a facility with three PV source circuits feeding a single inverter, chances are the underproduction occurs because of a malfunction in one of those circuits. With real-time data recording and analysis, plant employees can attend to the operational error quickly and restore their facility’s overall efficiency in no time. Our systems are fully capable of locally recording critical site data to a historian (inverter production, irradiance, trackers) as well as displays data to a local HMI for operators to use for plant controls, which will give a better overall user interface.

Data Reporting

DAS is often required to meter and report PV production for billing and crediting purposes, especially for feed-in-tariff incentive programs. For instance, the California Solar Initiative allows energy companies with approved DAS solutions to measure and report energy generation on behalf of their clients. If you operate in California, you can attract more clients to switch to solar power by helping them claim state incentives with accurate energy reporting from DAS.

With such vital roles, DAS is a must for a solar PV plant. Given that PV monitoring systems consist of multiple components or subsystems, it is crucial that the DAS design and plan meet the hardware requirements and interconnection protocols of each subsystem. Our DAS support is very useful in this aspect.

As one of California’s leading DAS system vendors, we help you with DAS planning, design, and troubleshooting. Our engineers make sure your DAS meets the unique needs of your solar facility.

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