In conversation with Mr. Mike Herzig, CEO of Locus Energy
1. Let’s begin with a glimpse of your company’s presence and offerings in India?
Locus Energy is one of the largest independent PV monitoring companies in the world, and is a global leader in solar data analytics. As India is one of the largest and most quickly developing solar markets, Locus is keenly interested in the opportunity it presents.
Locus Energy’s main offering for the Indian market is the LocusNOC™ platform, a state-of-the-art solution for PV monitoring. From a technology standpoint, LocusNOC is a cloud-based, enterprise-class tool for asset managers, O&M providers, developers, and financiers to collect, manage, and analyze performance data from a diverse, distributed set of solar PV assets.
Locus also offers a wide range of extremely sophisticated and highly intuitive tools like the PVIQ Suite for advanced analytics. Virtual Irradiance uses satellite-based irradiance values to forecast solar production for customers in India in line with SLDC requirements, and can be leveraged in the Waterfall model for power loss estimation.
In short, these tools allow fleet managers to gain real-time intelligence on asset performance so they can maximize their assets’ utilization.
With the customizable dashboard, LocusNOC provides PV ecosystem stakeholders with an unprecedented level of control over how they manage asset performance data, enhancing the decisions these stakeholders are able to make in real-time.
The system offers the capability for fleet management across multiple installers, geographical regions, system sizes and age, equipment types, finance partners, etc. For example, a single filter on your LocusNOC dashboard can help you track all projects within an X-mile radius of Delhi, and quantify performance degradation due to soiling.
Another strength of the LocusNOC platform is its ability to handle data from a wide range of sources, including inverter direct data, data legacy monitoring systems, and third-party performance data sets. The introduction of Locus’ powerful PVIQ data analytics platform means fleet managers can access yet another layer of system intelligence through LocusNOC in the form of Locus’ Virtual Irradiance (VI) tool and Waterfall report, which provide valuable insight into why a system isn’t meeting performance expectations.
With the “Make in India” initiative in mind, Locus has partnered with local suppliers for monitoring hardware. In order provide the consumer with more choices, we launched the Bring Your Own Logger (BYOL) concept, which allows clients to use the hardware of their choice, whether it is one that Locus recommends or something else entirely. We have made our system capable of accepting data from everywhere.
We have consciously created a niche in Solar, within the wider Renewables industry, to focus assiduously on creating a true, turnkey, end-to-end Solar PV monitoring solution. Clients have told us that they have never seen so many valuable, useful features packed in a single monitoring platform. It feels good to enter a market with a great product that offers a lot of value to the client.
2. What have been some of the recent developments at your organization?
Locus has recently launched the Virtual Irradiance tool for India and other neighboring countries. On-site irradiance sensors can be expensive and challenging to maintain because of their sensitivity to soiling, inter-row shading, positioning error, and calibration errors. Virtual Irradiance avoids these challenges by using a methodology based on satellite images and consistent calibration. For small and medium-sized sites, Virtual Irradiance can be a very cost effective way to acquire irradiance data, without the need for expensive on-site irradiance sensors.
We also recently released the VI Performance Waterfall, which is a tool that analyzes the power generation data from a solar meter to determine whether the panel(s) and inverter(s) behind the meter are working as expected. For systems that are not performing to expectations, it helps determine why discrepancies arise between measured and modeled performance of a system.
Leveraging VI as the source of irradiance data, the Performance Waterfall analyzes the differences between the modeled and measured data series to estimate underperformance due to clipping, snow cover, partial system downtime, soiling, shading, and degradation. Using these loss estimates, operators and owners of solar assets can better understand the as-built performance of their assets. This information helps reduce unnecessary truck rolls, increase fleet productivity, and improve the feedback loop around design and quoting.
3. Tell us a bit about the recent technology advancements in your sector?
The sector is looking to get more value out of monitoring and SCADA solutions. As we enter the digital transformation age for solar assets, more and more plant owners and O&M providers understand the value of making informed, data-driven decisions. The use of advanced analytics packages, like the VI Waterfall, empower customers to be more proactive in their plant operations.
4. What are your growth plans for the Indian market? What are the milestones you wish to achieve by the end of this fiscal?
India is a very special market for us. We have invested considerable time and effort in setting up a high quality, locally-based support team.
Locus Energy is renowned for excellent customer support, both pre and post-sales. Our Centre of Excellence in New Delhi doubles as Engineering support center for our projects in the APAC and MENA regions.
The intent is to create a service-focused company that is differentiated because of how we help our clients leverage their data. So far, our clients have been very excited by our attention to detail and the nimbleness with which we address site issues.
We are currently monitoring projects of 600MW+ in the SE region. We see our size in India growing to 700 MW to 1 GW every year.
5. What have been the latest trends in demand for your products & services in India? Where do you see the next demand growth coming from?
As more and more companies look to scale up their business and optimize their operations, there is more demand for Locus’ service offerings. We are getting a lot of interest from asset owners and O&M providers to help them optimize their operations. Additionally, we are helping Network Operations Centers with crucial intelligence, so they can then help the asset owners and O&M firms to centralize the “brain” power in an urban area, and provide meaningful and actionable tickets to field technicians.
6. Anything else you would like to add for our readers.
We are currently offering free evaluations for fleet retrofits to clients and potential clients. Clients can request a comprehensive review of their fleets, so we can retrofit old sites and bring them to LocusNOC platform. We also have several large releases planned for the Indian market, so you should be hearing a lot from us in the coming months.