As mentioned in our previous blogs, the benefits of digitalizing the entire solar lifecycle are undeniably vast. One of the companies that recognized the need to digitalize their solar construction projects is Enel Green Power. They are present with assets in operation or under construction in 21 countries and development activities in 5 countries.
Regional Account Manager Eerik de Ory Leiponen spoke with Antonio Alcaide Prieto about his experience on the journey to digitalizing solar construction projects in Iberia.
Antonio Alcaide Prieto started at Enel in 2019 and is working in the Industrial Competitiveness Unit, a unit dedicated to implementing innovation improvements of projects in execution. One of the improvements he has helped implement is monitoring the progress of the mechanical activities (i.e. mounting or construction activities) of solar projects through the Sitemark Fuse platform and drone flights on site.
When did you start working with Sitemark?
I started working with Sitemark almost a year ago when I was informed that Enel had signed a global contract with a platform provider for data management of mechanical activities during the construction phase of the projects. As a result, we started moving internally to carry out local activations from this global contract for the different countries, including Spain, where I work. From these activations, we began looking for projects where we started using the tool. We organized training on the use of the platform, and we began to expose and introduce the members of the project team and the project leaders to Sitemark so that they could get to know it.
Today, almost all construction team members in Iberia are familiar with Sitemark, and by the end of 2022, we will apply to nearly 100% of the projects we have planned.
What solution do you currently use in your projects at Enel Green Power?
From the array of solutions Sitemark has today, we work with the product that provides the most benefits to the team constructing the solar site, namely “Solar Construction Monitoring.” On the Fuse platform, we can configure the project through preliminary layouts in the engineering phase of the site. We insert general information about the project and give access to multiple users, like the six managers and on-site project coordinators, so they can start using the platform.
It also offers other products, such as the as-built of a solar park, the inspections with thermographic cameras, or different methods of information processing like reports, statistics, and data exportation through the Sitemark platform.
How do you and the team apply the ‘Solar Construction Monitoring’ solution?
At Enel, the construction site team has identified a list of use cases we have applied during all our projects in 2021.
I’ll name a few:
- It is handy when taking, for example, the measurements of an open trench in length and depth.
- It is beneficial to monitor the stocking of the panels on the pallets, knowing the exact position of the pallets.
- It allows you to check the alignment of the trackers once the panels are installed, to verify that they are correctly assembled on the tracker.
- We use it to identify areas where vegetation overgrows, and we must act to eliminate this inconvenience or quickly visualize the panels’ breaks or imperfections.
- It is also helpful to locate areas where rainwater is dammed or measure roads and drainage.
- To count the number of piles, trackers and panels installed weekly and verified the inclination of the panels and installation.
The teams identified and passed on positive results from using the Fuse Platform. The most significant impact was saving time when verifying the data provided by the contractors.
Also, visually, it is great to see the project’s progress week by week through images and colors in the Fuse Platform.
A widely used function is the tables and graphs we can obtain from the statistics provided by the platform. These are useful to present to other colleagues in the ‘project review meeting,’ so mainly to the project leaders and/or unit managers who are not on-site weekly to update them on the project’s progress.
Also, at the central level in Italy, we have been asked for many images obtained through the Sitemark platform to integrate them into the reports they generate.
It is also possible to draw quick conclusions by accessing the platform swiftly.
The truth is that the improvements we have obtained in production and on-site productivity have been thanks to Sitemark’s platform.
And finally, would you recommend Sitemark’s solutions to other companies in the solar industry?
I would recommend it since, from the first moment, Sitemark’s solutions have shown us a lot of flexibility in all the improvements proposed by Enel.
It has helped us improve our daily work on-site by eliminating manual processing and speeding up the work. And it also perfectly complements other internal tools, such as the Construction Progress Monitoring (CPM) tool, which the contractor uses weekly to report construction progress. The contractor already finds the data on the mechanical activities in the platform without needing to re-insert them manually.
Sitemark is a highly appreciated added value in solar power plants for weekly progress monitoring and integration with thermographic cameras.