Predictive software for solar plants

SmartHelio has developed software capable of anticipating and diagnosing faults in photovoltaic installations by analysing data collected by a variety of devices. An innovation that is set to improve the yield and cost-effectiveness of this renewable energy source, accelerating its more widespread adoption.

Delayed detection of operating faults in photovoltaic solar power plants costs operators a lot of money. Most fault-monitoring solutions available on the market focus on collecting and presenting data but don’t provide diagnoses, predictions or a solution to any problems detected. As a result, faults are not detected until after the installation’s performance has markedly worsened or the installation has stopped working altogether. This has an impact on their cost-effectiveness and results in a great deal of waste too. To plug this gap, SmartHelio has developed smart software capable of analysing any existing solar power plant. “We are in a position to speed up the rollout of solar energy by using automation to improve the yield and cost-effectiveness of photovoltaic installations,” says Maxine Cronier, Head of Global Partnerships & Business Development.

The software developed by SmartHelio is based on the principles of physics – enhanced by AI. It doesn’t just analyse the tension, voltage and temperature data and predict faults, it also prescribes corrective and preventive measures. In addition, the system features an exclusive dynamic climate modelling tool to improve the climate resilience of solar installations and increase their operating life. It took 12 years of R&D to develop real-time detection, enabling preventive intervention before a fault has an impact on an installation’s performance. The models used by SmartHelio were trained on five billion data points collected from all over the world. “Our solution can be integrated into any existing software,” says Maxine Cronier. “We think we should be using technology to take advantage of what is already out there rather than creating more stuff that isn’t needed.”

By improving the performance of solar installations by 10%, the solution developed by SmartHelio saves one tonne of CO2 per GWh each year. “Our technology could result in a saving of at least five million tonnes of CO2 by 2028,” adds Maxine Cronier. The company has three offices, in Switzerland, India and the United States. It boasts around 50 customers all over the world, including Tata Power, Schneider Electric and Daystar Power (Shell’s African subsidiary). In 2022, SmartHelio successfully raised $5 million of capital funding to further develop its software.