First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced the launch of its new industry-leading global Operations Center, a centralized monitoring and control center where power plants in First Solar’s operations and maintenance (O&M) program can be monitored, operated and connected to utility and customer networks. The Operations Center combines First Solar’s power prediction and analytical capabilities with its advanced diagnostics and plant controls in order to maximize power output and minimize maintenance costs for its customers, and to enable the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants to integrate seamlessly with the electrical grid and contribute to grid stability.
First Solar's new industry-leading global Operations Center is a centralized monitoring and control center where power plants can be remotely monitored, operated and connected to utility and customer networks. (Photo: Business Wire)
The new, second-generation Operations Center, located in Mesa, Ariz., is fully compliant with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards and is designed to be scalable to accommodate the growing global fleet of PV power plants in First Solar’s O&M program. First Solar currently operates for its customers 14 plants with 460 megawatts (MW) of peak generating capacity, which will increase to 23 plants with 850 MW of capacity by year-end and 27 plants with 2,200 MW of capacity in 2013.
The Operations Center and its expert staff maximize power plant availability and reduce costs for customers by preventing potential problems from occurring and quickly and efficiently fixing those that do. The Operations Center collects and processes a wide range of real-time power plant data, including electrical performance, equipment status and weather data, which are monitored and analyzed against key performance and operational parameters. Automated data analysis detects issues in the plants and automatically dispatches maintenance crews to resolve them, and proprietary algorithms developed using years of O&M data enable the system to predict potential issues and schedule preventive maintenance before a problem occurs.