Updated Mar 31, 2018

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A data platform for sustainable operation of solar power plants

We digitalize solar power plants, maximize their value and support their sustainable operation.

https://www.pplc.co

Stage 3: Proof of Concept

Our innovation has being tested on several small solar plants. Working data of the panels was collected successfully. These preliminary data describes the working status of the panels and suggest defects concisely.

Registered as aFor-Profit in Japan.

Focus Areas:

Solar, Energy Service, Metering & Payment Systems and Monitoring & Evaluation

Solar, Energy Service, Metering & Payment Systems and Monitoring & EvaluationSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Japan

JapanSEE LESS

1
Key Partner
1
Country Implemented In
4
Customers
2
Employee
$370,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

Solar power is a fast-growing new energy source. Hundreds million solar panels have been installed worldwide every year. Without efficient operation and maintenance, panels with defect will influence the electricity yield and threaten the sustainability of the plants as well. However, due to lack of efficient methods to inspect individual panels, we still rely on experience to maintain solar plants, which is always not efficient and will cause unnecessary waste of energy.

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Solution

We would like to improve solar panel management by applying Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) technologies. We provide a unique IoT solution that helps to collect data from each panel. With the data we can 1) evaluate status for each individual panel as well as the whole plant, 2) address the defects and failures, and 3) provide advices on improvements.

Target Beneficiaries

Operation and maintenance (O&M) providers, solar asset owners, the PV industry and the society are the beneficiaries. Panel failures can cause over 11.5% yield loss in 20 years operation. Our innovation helps O&M providers to do better job.
Different from other energy sources, solar is democratic. Its sustainable operation would benefit thousands of small businesses and local entities. Besides, solar data can contribute to the policy making i.e. developing reuse and recycle policies.

Mission and Vision

We define ourselves as a solar data company. By applying our IoT technologies, we digitalize solar assets and build up a solar data platform. We also provide various data applications in order to maximize asset value as well as improve its long-term sustainability. We hope every solar plant could operate sustainably and provide more clean energy in order to solve environment problems. We start our project in Japan and would like to expand around the world.

Innovation Description

We collect solar data at panel level and discover the potential of the data. We help solar plants to operate sustainably and realize their biggest value. How do we do it?
In terms of hardware, we adopt a unique IoT technology "PPLC" (Pulse Powerline Communication) that we attach PPLC built-in sensors behind each solar panel to collect data, monitor its operation status and send the data by the power line. It is easy to receive the signals from PPLC as they have excellent resistance to noises. A gateway before inverter is connected to all panels and communicate data with server. PPLC is a university invention held by the University of Tokyo. We've had an exclusive license agreement with the university.
In terms of software, we develop various data applications to visualize solar plants as well as suggest new strategies to increase electricity yield and profit. The innovative applications may include but not limit to 1) highly efficient inspection and working status evaluation 2) automatic defect and failure address 3) panel replacement suggestions and impact simulations 4) other improvement suggestions such as installation optimization 5) new insurance products development to avoid long-term risks Some preliminary data collected from several operating plants have implied the feasibility of the applications.

Competitive Advantage

Our competitive advantages are as bellows. 1) The current O&M procedure consists of remote monitoring, local inspection, impact assessment and solution while our innovation brings a remote and automatic integrated solution all in one platform. Moreover, it does not require professionalism and expensive professional inspection equipment on site. 2) In terms of effectiveness, our solution can suggest much more attractive maintenance strategies. The current O&M only focuses on how to assist users to ask the manufactures to replace panels for free while our solution can do more. 3) In terms of IoT technologies, our solution is the easiest to deploy. There are a few competitors trying to provide panel-level monitoring system. However, their solution requires extra equipment and construction, which is difficult to implement. For example, our innovation does not need extra device between sensors and gateway other than hundreds routing devices in competitors’ solutions.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We've tested our solution at several small solar plants preliminarily. In the following year, we will test it on two 100kWatt level plants. These plants have operated for over 20 years whose panel data is ideal for developing applications. We will focus on these two plants and complete our case study. Our success on these plants will move us into the stage of "transition to scale". Several potential clients (Japanese O&M service providers) are waiting for our results.
Funding Goal500,000
Recruit1 solar data scientist, 2 engineers and 1 operation manager.

Milestones

Mar 2018
Key Partnership
as part of
Yamanashi Prefecture Government, Japan
Oct 2017
Funds RaisedPENDING
ORGANIZATIONANRI.VC
Feb 2017
New Country Implemented In
Japan