Opinion: Does your PV Plant SCADA deliver utility-scale management?

August 7th, 2017

Five quick questions to see if your system is up to the challenge.

Many systems claim to be “SCADA.” To laymen, these systems might all look the same. However, utility-scale PV resources require much more capability and automatic controls than simple data acquisition systems (DAS) that monitor a few points.

To participate in the utility-scale market, SCADA systems must support real-time operations, automatic performance optimization, execution of utility or ISO commands, asset management, regulatory compliance and profitability.

So what sets a utility-scale SCADA system apart from the others?

Here are five quick questions to help you determine if your SCADA system can help you gain, and maintain, a competitive edge.

Can you view performance, status and alarms for every device in your portfolio, all at once?

Trimark’s T1-S SCADA lets you view performance, generation values, status and alarms for inverters, trackers and MET instruments across your portfolio. In a single, customized interface, you can spot critical issues, so you can apply corrective action where it counts.

Can your system validate and react to curtailment orders and other third-party controls?

T1-S SCADA receives, authenticates and executes third-party control requests for Utility Demand Response (curtailment), Automatic Voltage Regulation and Automatic Generation Control (AGC). T1-S starts by validating the control request. Then it measures existing output and coordinates adjustments across all PV inverters and cap banks (if applicable) to deliver exactly what is required. By unifying control and measuring the results at the POI, T1-S’ closed loop control logic maintains precise generation set points and power characteristics (e.g. Volt VAR compensation, Unity Power Factor, and Frequency) thereby meeting PPA requirements and supporting the seamless integration of intermittent, renewable power generation resources into the electric grid.

Can you regulate power and voltage efficiently across different inverters?

Many generation portfolios, and some individual resources, use different makes and models of inverters. Trimark’s T1-S SCADA normalizes controls over power and voltage regardless of the inverter manufacturer to deliver precise power characteristics at the Point of Interconnection (POI). With pre-built libraries of proven control algorithms, Trimark can deploy consistent controls across virtually any PV inverter for seamless, enterprise power management.

Can you deliver stable power at the POI when an inverter under performs?

Inverters go offline. Clouds can shadow portions of the array. Cloud edges affect power characteristics. T1-S SCADA tracks all of these situations and their real-time effects on power delivered to the POI. Then it applies closed-loop logic to automatically stabilize generation and voltage for the output of the entire plant.

Does your SCADA system integrate with other systems?

Trimark’s T1-S SCADA system uses industry-standard communications protocols to integrate with a wide variety of devices and systems. This means T1-S SCADA can easily exchange data with all critical components, business systems and governing bodies.

How does your system compare with these imperatives? Want to discuss these questions further? Contact Trimark to learn more and or have us conduct an assessment of your system.