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Liten, a CEA Tech institute, gathers data from 10% of France's installed PV power-plant base, analyzes the data, and makes recommendations to improve plant performance. The installed base monitored by Liten should reach 400 MW by the end of 2016, making the institute a key source for information on PV production in France.
CEA Tech institute Liten was selected by France's energy regulatory commission (CRE) to instrument and/or gather data from France's large (>250 kWp) PV power plants.
Liten analyzes the data and uses powerful algorithms to highlight key performance indicators that can help operators manage their plants more efficiently—and boost production. For instance, Liten can assess the impact of fouling or aging on solar-panel yields, telling operators exactly when they should maintain or replace their equipment.
The institute's monitoring activities also provide broader insights. "Because we have access to a significant sampling of plants, our database allows us to determine indicators that are valid nationwide." explained a Liten researcher. "Unlike the power produced by a single plant, which fluctuates, PV production at the national level is smooth and predictable. As an example, when we forecast production for a set of 20 plants, the margin of error is less than 2.5%."
These capabilities position CEA Tech as a key resource for PV production forecasting—which will become even more crucial now that PV power no longer benefits from financial incentives from utilities and must compete with other sources of energy on the electricity market. To avoid penalties, producers need to be able to guarantee how much power they can produce.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.