The Importance of Monitoring Electricity ConsumptionWed, 02/21/2018 - 12:43
Q: What makes Marsam Solar’s proposal unique in Mexico’s distributed generation market?
JM: Marsam Solar offers PV systems of the highest quality. We never sacrifice quality standards to reduce prices in any PV project. Our eGauge software for energy consumption and production monitoring is an important differentiator. This monitoring system is integrated in all the PV systems we install. eGauge enables us to provide added value to our clients by detecting potential imbalances between what they consume and what CFE charges. As CFE is on an ongoing campaign to change traditional mechanical electric meters to bidirectional ones, measuring mistakes are not uncommon. Our engineering process is complete and professional. From preliminary analysis to top-tier simulator-designed engineering, to annual consumption estimates and projections that factor in dust, shadow and temperature, among others. Our projections are the closest to an actual annual business plan.
When distributed generation took its first steps in Mexico, CFE asked us to assist with training its electricity inspectors in several Mexico City locations regarding effective PV installations. CFE’s Trusteeship for Electric Energy Savings (FIDE) is keen to maintain our five-year association as it has learned much from our energy assessments.
Q: What is the comparative advantage of your eGauge software?
JM: The eGauge software works through a web server and can store up to 30 years’ worth of electricityconsumption records. We use it to confirm the proper design and installation of the PV system, as well as its satisfactory performance. Over the years, we have found that as our clients adopted solar power, their electricity consumption habits increased, nullifying the energy savings procured by solar modules. Our software helps our clients notice and prevent this behavioral change. eGauge is also decisively helpful in detecting grid-load errors and failures. Our software helps our clients confirm that what CFE charges is coherent with the balance between their energy savings from using our PV system and their energy consumption. The data generated by
our platform can be extremely detailed, including module temperature, voltage and frequency at any particular point in time.
MM: Electricity consumption is all about habits. There is no general rule. Owners of large homes do not necessarily consume great amounts of electricity, just as smaller house owners can receive high electricity bills resulting from squandered consumption. In addition, eGauge helps us offer efficient and effective maintenance services by anticipating any problems our PV systems might be experiencing with production and provide the proper and expedited assistance required to keep electricity production as seamless as possible.
Q: What were the objectives set out for Marsam Solar when it launched in 2012? How did you achieve them?
MM: 2013 and 2014 were spent analyzing and projecting opportunities and determining if there was a profitable business behind distributed generation. At the time, local distribution networks were virtually nonexistent and what they charged even impacted our profit margins. It was cheaper to import the different components of our PV system. Those costs, together with market conditions have improved over time.
JM: 2015 was a decisive year, characterized by the alliance we closed with Bright, our threefold sales increase and our appointment as the company's main PV system installer. This pushed our business considerably forward, we learned a lot from this experience and improved our business model. We grew organically by reinvesting our gains, since we did not have any major capital injection available. In 2016, our sales level remained similar to 2015 despite the negative impact from exchange rates and the US elections.