Maximizing production from solar PV plants

Saurabh Samdani, PE, Cupertino Electric Inc.

About the talk: Solar plants are instrumented with numerous weather and electrical sensors and this data is logged every minute yielding very large data sets. The process of installing sensors, data acquisition and communication devices can be so complicated that sometimes people forget what the data is for: understanding plant performance. The first half of the talk will demonstrate how this data can be used to maximize system production. The examples presented to answer important questions of solar plant performance will clarify important concepts in data presentation that are universally applicable.

The true promise of information age isn’t tons of data but decisions and actions based on a thorough understanding obtained from accurate data. Engineers collect data and make decisions using detailed analysis. The engineer’s task is only half done at this point. The other half is to convince others that the action is the correct one. A lot of attention is given to data collection and storage techniques. However data is like a ¼” drill but what everybody wants is the ¼” hole: better decisions and understanding. Data should be presented in graphical format for effective communication.

The second half of this talk will focus on the general principles for graphical data analysis and presentation.

About the Speaker:

Saurabh Samdani, PE received his MS from Stanford University in 2008 and B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology in 2006. He is responsible for system performance analysis of more than 150 MW of Cupertino Electric, Inc.’s solar power installations. He also oversees new product evaluation, design optimization, commissioning and startup of solar plants. He has spent many years working for solar companies to drive innovative processes for deployment of solar power plants. He is very active in the solar industry and has been an invited speaker at Solar Power International, Intersolar North America, and the Utility Scale PV Optimization Conference. He blogs at

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