I hope you enjoyed this week's Tactical Tuesday with Hongbing Fang of Longi Solar where we discussed the rise of PERC Mono Technology and also the re-emergence of Bifacial Modules.
On today's episode, I got to speak with Etienne Lecompte.
Etienne is a recognized leader in renewable energy, software development, and regulatory compliance. He founded PowerHub to make managing portfolios of assetS easy. PowerHub is redefining asset intelligence management for the renewable energy industry. Etienne has worked on over 8 GW of wind and solar projects globally.
Tune in Today as we Discuss Topics Such As:
- How Etienne & PowerHub raised capital.
- The opportunities and threats currently in the Asset Management space.
At the bottom of this post, you'll find some useful links and a 1 Min video where Etienne explains how and why they made the pivot that became PowerHub.
With PowerHub's permission, I'm republishing here one of their earliest blog posts that I think encapsulates the ethos of "why" for PowerHub, and which addresses
3 approaches you can adopt to avoid common asset management pitfalls.
SOLAR COMPANIES ARE FAILING AT RISK MANAGEMENT. SEE WHY.
Things are changing. The renewable energy industry is at an interesting point. Regulations are getting more complex, portfolios growing, and technology continually evolving. Energy producers are making the jump from development and construction to operations and maintenance, and they're even beginning to think about mergers and acquisitions.
You should be thinking about maximizing your PV or turbine asset efficiency, and minimizing risk, and if you're not, you're setting yourself up for trouble, especially if you're working with a large portfolio.
So now you're wondering what risks you're facing, and what opportunities are in front of you. Well, here they are.
How can I find key project information?
Understanding what you own, and what its associated obligations are, is fundamental to good risk management. Without fast access to accurate information, how can you work, and make decisions, efficiently? How does management know what COD was on a given project so they can ensure warranty start times? Do they need to call a project manager dedicated to the project, or can they find this information in a centralized real-time repository?
How do I ensure my assets are compliant?
There are countless project milestones and covenants which require tracking and need to be assigned to project members. Compliance risk with lenders or government agencies is in jeopardy if these milestones are missed. How do you ensure that insurance certificates have been renewed annually or that debt coverage ratios are managed and reported to lenders at the appropriate time? Having these dates in calendars and Excel spreadsheets of team members in different offices and times zones makes systematic oversight difficult or impossible.
Here are 3 approaches our clients have adopted to help avoid these pitfalls
1. Front-end load contractual commitments and milestones
Before projects become operational, all commitments and milestones should be documented in a centralized and readily accessible location. Team members and managers need to be able to monitor these commitments to ensure they are completed, and completed on time. How does your organization ensure this is done? Too often, this is managed by a single person in isolation, when connecting to the broader team is a key success factor. Is this the most effective approach to protect your projects from the various risks and costs which would arise should an obligation not be met? Consider the cost of having your lawyer paper a simple technical default.
2. Manage issues in a predictable and repeatable manner
Having a standardized approach to tackle predictable issues saves times and ensures compliance. For instance, what are the tasks and subtasks that are required to manage a complaint from a neighbor, or an inquiry from a regulator? Mapping these out in advance will lead to a more systematic, repeatable, and, therefore, reliable process for ensuring team members know what steps should be taken to close out an issue. Be ready to answer the way regulators and stakeholders are expecting you to, and make sure you respond in this standardized approach all the time.
3. Have key information at your fingertips
Consider teasing out the key information needed frequently, and storing it centrally with broad access. Information, such as commercial operation dates, warranty end dates, project locations, landlord information, and lender report dates, are always in demand. Why not have them readily accessible, so that employees are not spending hours scrambling for this information when it’s required?
These are all opportunities to consider when transitioning projects from development to operation. Failure to do so could quickly lead to pain points and costs that could have been avoided. These are easy issues to manage for a small number of projects, but become costly and time-consuming quickly as portfolios grow both in size and complexity. A systematic approach to asset management could help you scale and reduce costs at the same time.
Check out this 1 minute clip of Etienne talking about his A-ha moment for PowerHub:
'While working as a consultant in the renewable energy sector, PowerHub co-founder and CEO Etienne Lecompte found teams had no consistent approach to project management. He knew there had to be a way to modernize the process beyond Excel spreadsheets. That's when he had his Aha Moment to start PowerHub.'
Links & Resources:
And, of course, learn more on PowerHub here.
PowerHub have some great content on their blog, such as: “How solar asset managers can learn from failure”
About the Host of SunCast:
Nico Johnson is the creator and host of SunCast, a regular conversation with Solar Industry professionals who are leading in emerging solar markets. The content of the show is geared towards listeners looking for insights on where the markets are headed, how to position themselves or their companies, and what today's market leaders do to stay ahead of the pack.
Nico is a 10-year veteran of the solar industry, having led development in the US and Latin America for global companies like Trina Solar and Conergy. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and is considered one of the market's leading experts on solar PV expansion in the region.
Nico can be reached on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickalus
or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for setting aside THIS time in your day. Enjoy this week’s episode of SunCast, with Etienne Lecompte.