As the saying goes: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. To this we would also add, before something breaks, proactively identify error-prone systems and potential issues before they affect operations. This can be done with advanced energy diagnostics.
Just like X-rays help us identify injuries or seismic monitors help us prepare for earthquakes, built-in diagnostics for machines are crucial to ensure that everything is functioning as it should, and if it isn’t, to understand where the problem lies. We are accustomed to such diagnostics with our smartphones and computers – the same should also apply to distributed energy resources (DERs).
Comprehensive energy visualization
The more devices an operator has to manage – whether charge points in an electric vehicle (EV) charging park or batteries in multiple houses – the harder it is to maintain an overview of how the systems are functioning, and to ensure that everything stays in working order. Being able to monitor all systems and devices, as well as their statuses and error codes, on one manufacturer-independent platform is a game changer for asset visualization and management. Avoiding the use of multiple vendor tools makes processes much more simplified and seamless, for example, by reducing the maintenance of credentials and passwords.
Configuring selected parameters in a holistic platform view, tailored to companies’ specific needs, is the next step. The particular feature settings of an energy management system (EMS) can be viewed at a glance so that operators can see, for example, which energy-consuming assets are prioritized when surplus solar power is available.
Transparency on preferences and intended behavior
Adding an EMS to a running system brings many financial and environmental benefits. But without the right tools, it can also increase complexity. Identifying whether a fault is caused by the hardware or the EMS, for example, is crucial for early detection, quick support and containment of issues. Shedding light on the EMS decision-making set points allows operators to understand how the algorithms work and make decisions, and the benefits of these decisions. As an added bonus, operators can easily access all the historical data for retroactive analysis. In the future it will be possible to retrieve reports on overall system health and performance to discover trends and prevent future issues.
A prime example of this is understanding intended behavior, such as gridX’s specifically developed safety lock parameter. In the case of dynamic load management, for example, the EMS adapts the electric vehicle (EV) charging power in response to fluctuating building consumption to ensure limits at the grid connection point are never breached. If the building load increases so that the EV cannot be charged above its minimum power threshold (e.g. 4.14 kW), the EMS can toggle commands so that the charging power oscillates between 0 kW and 4.14 kW, depending on the building load. However, some EVs interpret this toggling as inconsistent control and go into error mode, aka. stop charging to protect themselves. To avoid this, when charging power drops to zero, the safety parameter lock is activated for eight minutes to provide system stability and protect the EV during times of unstable or volatile power supply. By receiving information on such status updates or machine behavior via the Diagnostics module, operators understand what is going on and why, thereby reducing effort on both sides by avoiding unnecessary support calls.
Gaining a transparent overview of users’ parameters enables operators to gain a better understanding of customers’ preferences and needs. Adapting or offering new solutions according to these needs ultimately helps companies to enhance customer satisfaction and reduce churn.
Proactive fault detection and communication
Detecting potential issues or error-prone systems quickly is crucial to ensure operations are not affected. The next step is proactive communication – ideally, just a few seconds should lie between error detection and notifying operators. Because no one wants to wait for a monthly report before identifying a problematic system. This is where the Comprehensive System Health Status comes in. Based on the successfully completed installation wizards, as well as ongoing automatic scan results for all assets and gridBoxes , this feature not only helps to find faulty systems, but also makes it possible to link the findings on the dashboard for quick access.
By finding systems that are not operating optimally, operators can take early actions to resolve issues. Additionally, with the new system-agnostic asset table view, XENON users can take their analysis process to the next level. With the option of filtering, for example,by manufacturer, installer, firmware etc. users can more easily identify patterns, come up with different purchase strategies and so on.
Increased support efficiency and reduced costs
Earlier and more advanced diagnoses of technical issues ultimately minimize the number of installer visits, as well as support calls. In fact, the amount of time the support team spends on resolving issues thanks to our Diagnostic module could be reduced by 40%.
"With knowledge comes power, and with energy diagnostics comes competitive advantage.”
According to our Product Manager, F. Rüveyde Özceylan, “Advanced energy diagnostics ensures that the user receives a single source of truth so they don’t have to jump between different interfaces. This minimizes wasted effort on all sides and maximizes the utilization of devices. With knowledge comes power, and with energy diagnostics comes competitive advantage.”