PART 6: The Energy company of the future: Use case - monitoring the impact of the implemented measures

PART 6: The Energy company of the future: Use case - monitoring the impact of the implemented measures

7 min read


In most cases, these are organisational measures or small investments/retrofits of existing equipment and therefore have a short payback period. These measures are the most difficult to implement in practice, as we have to introduce them in established work processes, where they may quickly lead to staff resistance.


Major investment measures require prior planning and financial resources. Before planning medium and long-term actions, it is wise to take a detailed look at the status quo and assess the potential of organisational measures; it can significantly reduce the actual investment or even make it unnecessary.


Once we have implemented the measures, it is essential to monitor and compare the actual results with the expected ones. In this way, we can also check the manufacturers‘ specifications of the equipment installed.


Control chart.

Control charts are not only about limit values but also about pattern recognition - if the measured parameters are within the permissible limits, it does not necessarily mean that the process is under control. If the values of the measured data show a pattern, there is a reason for it, and if it can be found and corrected, this will reduce the variability of the process. In interpreting patterns and determining the specific cause of variability, knowing the principles of control charts is not enough; we also need to have experience and knowledge of the observed process.

Control charts are helpful in Phase I because they are only effective in detecting significant shifts in the mean values. The problem with control charts is that they only use the information obtained from the last measurement and ignore other information from the previous data sequence. If we are interested in quickly detecting small changes (shifts) in the mean of an observed parameter, we use the CUSUM control method.


Difference between control chart and CUSUM

If μ_0 is the target value of the process, then the cumulative sum of differences graph is a plot of the sum of the differences between the actual value and the target value for sample i - The cumulative sum of differences Ci comprises the sum of the deviations of all samples i.


When the process is under control, the CUSUM plot is around zero. However, when a specific cause of variability occurs, the CUSUM function quickly escapes from neutral, regardless of the magnitude of the deviation from the target value.


The operation of a solar power plant depends on weather conditions, which makes it very difficult to monitor its performance. Production data alone does not tell us much about the performance rate of the plant. Only when we compare the characteristics of the plant adjusted with the actual weather conditions can we determine its efficiency. However, capturing weather parameters is challenging, as solar irradiance is more sensitive to microlocation than temperature. Proper sensors are expensive, so we usually use data from national weather stations instead.

Therefore, we must evaluate performance daily or weekly, as checks for a shorter period may be misleading. However, we must respond to system failures as quickly as possible.


1. Routine maintenance

All energy devices must be in perfect working order to ensure safety and efficiency. Solar power plants are particularly exposed to all weather conditions. Without monitoring and inspection of the plant‘s operation and preventive maintenance, the efficiency of the performance may decline over time, which may result in permanent financial losses to the ESCO project or an unfortunate accident in the form of a breakdown or fire. For a power plant to achieve maximum efficiency, it is necessary to maintain and control the plant and carry out preventive site inspections according to the applicable regulations.

Routine maintenance includes regular annual cleaning of panels and electrical cabinets, and pre-ventive checks of equipment and joints. We carry out a thermal camera inspection to check the potential overheating of electrical components of the PV power plant. We must carry out activities regularly to ensure regulatory compliance, so we must implement a system that will ensure noth-ing important is left out.


Thermal camera check


Cleaning of solar panels.

2. Emergancy maintenance 

After severe weather events, we must carry out preventive visual inspection of the roof, as severe weather can damage modules, wiring and joints, leading to additional damage or even fire. Another critical fault that we must fix as soon as possible is communication loss. If that happens, we don‘t get any telemetry back, so we can‘t perform monitoring and do not know what is happening at the site, so the project‘s success is thus in God‘s hands.

Diagnostic report errors and warnings can vary from device to device, but we can separate them into several levels:

  • Critical: to be corrected immediately, 
  • Warnings: to be looked into during regular annual inspections and maintenance work, 
  • Information: this can help in performance analyses.


In addition to ensuring the success of the ESCO project, we need to produce annual reports for the client on the achieved results. Based on the reports, we prepare invoices to charge for over-achievement or reimburse for underachievements.

In some cases, we must report to a legal Authority in addition to the Contracting Authority. In case of inspection, we must provide the inspector with access to all documentation regarding the equipment inspected


At the end of the contract period, the ESCO partner is no longer responsible for achieving the agreed objectives. We transfer all equipment that needs to be in good working order and all relat-ed documentation containing operating history and maintenance logs to the customer, without requiring additional payment. The best way to manage documentation during the contractual peri-od is to archive it electronically in a document system. We can easily hand it over to the client without the need for any additional activities

If the client is satisfied with the contractor‘s performance, we can conclude a new contract for the energy equipment operation and maintenance at the end of the contractual period.


Decommissioning is when the powerplant installation is dismantled and removed at the end of its life expectancy. In the case of ESCO products, the photovoltaic cells stay on the roof and produce electricity even after the end of the contract period. Therefore, the actual removal of such struc-tures usually happens when you or the customer decide to invest in a new powerplant.

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Supporting ESCO processes with Dynamics 365

Marketing & Sale 

  • Dynamics 365: Marketing module 
  • Dynamics 365: Sales module

Designing & Installation 

  • Dynamics 365: Sales module 
  • Dynamics 365: Customer care module 
  • Dynamics 365: Field service module 
  • Dynamics 365: Field service remote assistance module 
  • Office 365: SharePoint

Operation & maintenance 

  • Dynamics 365: Field service module 
  • Dynamics 365: Field service Guides module 
  • Dynamics 365: Field service remote assistance module 
  • Dynamics 365: Field service-connected maintenance module 
  • Azure Digital Twins • Dynamics 365: Power BI module 
  • Dynamics 365: Customer care module 
  • Office 365: SharePoint

Handing over to the client 

  • Dynamics 365: Customer care module 
  • Dynamics 365: Power BI module 
  • Office 365: SharePoint

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About the Author

Matej Fröhlich Novkovič

Product manager for Utility and Energy solutions