Q1 2017 PV Newsletter


Q1 2017 PV Newsletter

AlsoEnergy Corporate Update 2017


In this newsletter:

  • AlsoEnergy Corporate Update 2017
  • Introducing PowerTrack Web: Access on More Web Browsers
  • New for All PowerTrack Users: The Rule Tool
  • New Improved Mobile Apps for Apple and Android Devices
  • Client Success Story: 18MW Rincon 1 Solar Plant
  • PowerRIG is a CAISO Compliant RIG Replacement Solution
  • AlsoEnergy Spring Tradeshow Schedule
  • Check Out our Latest Training Videos


[nextpage title=”AlsoEnergy Corporate Update 2017″]

AlsoEnergy Corporate Update 2017


2016 was another year of record-setting growth and major accomplishments for AlsoEnergy.

GreenTech Media’s 2016 ranking of solar monitoring providers recognized AlsoEnergy as the #1 independent software vendor (ISV) for solar monitoring in the Americas, and #5 ISV worldwide. Thanks to our customers we have grown at a rate exceeding 40% annually for the last seven years. We monitor greater than 6GW of power, over 100,000 devices, at more than 20,000 sites in forty countries around the world.

2016 was a year for significant new products from our software development team. We are launching 3 important products and features in Q1 2017, which are detailed with feature articles in this newsletter:

  • PowerTrack Web: a streamlined version of our PowerTrack software platform built with the universal HTML programming language, delivering web access for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and IE11 browser users.
  • The Rule Tool: this new feature in PowerTrack automatically conducts site validation surveys for each user’s entire portfolio, then produces results in a convenient single page display.
  •  AlsoEnergy Mobile Apps: new versions of our mobile apps for Apple and Android devices with expanded feature sets and updated GUIs.

2016 saw AlsoEnergy advance and diversify offerings for the utility scale PV market. We introduced standalone systems, CAISO RIGs, battery monitors, fuel save systems, fuel cell monitors and curtailment controllers.  AlsoEnergy introduced other features to reduce the cost of commissioning and O&M including automated PV capacity testing.

Dramatic growth requires ongoing attention to processes. In 2016 we migrated our internal processes for sales, customer support, accounting and manufacturing to a single technology platform. The result has been greater efficiency for our business workflow, resulting in tangible benefits for our clients. As one example, AlsoEnergy is currently delivering new DAS system builds with a 3-week lead time. This is the lowest lead time in the history of our industry.

Finally, AlsoEnergy brought on several key hires in 2016. We have created new positions in our company for a Utility Solutions Manager and an Asset Management Product Specialist. Look for new developments from these departments in the coming year.

AlsoEnergy has an aggressive road map planned for 2017. We are focused on two initiatives:  utility-scale products and services and uncompromising customer support.

We continue to invest heavily in products and personnel to address the utility scale PV market. It is our goal to reduce the cost and simplify the installation of monitoring & control systems for our clients’ large or complicated sites. We are enhancing our offerings for the utility scale market with products that range from Zero Export Controllers to full SCADA systems, along with specialized products including energy storage monitors and microgrid monitors.

We will continue to grow our support team to provide you with industry leading support. Additionally, we have upgraded the operations team and target a two-week lead time for standard orders.  Lastly, after one year, we have outgrown our company headquarters at 5425 Airport Boulevard and are moving to a larger facility!

Thank you for continuing to rely on AlsoEnergy for your PV needs.  We look forward to ongoing growth and development in 2017 as we continue to serve you with industry-leading products and services.


Robert Schaefer, AlsoEnergy CEO


[nextpage title=”Introducing PowerTrack Web: Access on More Web Browsers”]

Introducing PowerTrack Web:  Access on More Web Browsers


AlsoEnergy is pleased to announce the release of PowerTrack Web, a new version of our software platform that is built using universal HTML5 programming language. PowerTrack Web may be accessed by users with Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and IE11 browsers.

PowerTrack Web is a streamlined version of our PowerTrack software that is designed for universal compatibility and fast performance. It supports all the basic functionality of the original PowerTrack platform:

  • Real-time data at portfolio, site, and device level
  • Aggregated and itemized portfolio overviews
  • Analytics and full charting functionality
  • Alert status and acknowledgement


PowerTrack Web has simplified the traditional navigation systems of PowerTrack, making this an easy adaptation for new and seasoned users alike.


PowerTrack Web joins the existing products in the PowerTrack application family:

  • PowerTrack IE:  this full featured version is ideal for use with the Internet Explorer browser
  • PowerTrack Desktop:  our stand-alone version of the PowerTrack program offers the complete feature set, and can access the web without using a browser; also ideal for systems without access to internet
  • PowerTrack Mobile:  we recently released new versions of our mobile app for Apple and Android devices

PowerTrack Web works with the standard PowerTrack back end server system, meaning that any actions executed in PowerTrack Web will be immediately visible and actionable on the other platform. Users may move back and forth between versions with no fear of losing work.

Any registered PowerTrack user can immediately start using PowerTrack Web! Click here to log in. You may use the same login credentials that you currently use to access PowerTrack.

Here are some ways to find out more about PowerTrack Web and the full family of PowerTrack products:

  • Information on Website:  you can see all products in the PowerTrack product family on the AlsoEnergy website PowerTrack Products Page
  • Training Video:  see a demonstration of major features in PowerTrack Web with our training video on YouTube: PowerTrack Web Training Video


(In 2016 certain browsers discontinued support for Microsoft Silverlight. Silverlight was previously used by AlsoEnergy for the development of the PowerTrack software platform; as a result, PowerTrack could not be accessed using these browsers. Since that time our development team has been working to create a version of the PowerTrack platform built in the universal HTML5 web development language. For access to the original PowerTrack Desktop software, we continue to advise users to either employ the Microsoft Explorer web browser, or use our direct loading PowerTrack Desktop; instructions to download may be found here.)


[nextpage title=”New for All PowerTrack Users: The Rule Tool”]

New for All PowerTrack Users: The Rule Tool


AlsoEnergy is happy to deliver a new feature that can offer immediate benefits to every client using PowerTrack software. Introducing The Rule Tool, a new software feature that enables users to perform automated site validation surveys for their entire monitored portfolio on demand.

The Rule Tool performs real-time queries for key indicators from each site associated with the software user. The survey covers 20 unique queries across 4 areas of operation:  configuration, communications, data quality, and performance evaluation (please refer to the screen shot graphic to see the full list of queried indicators).In short, you get an instant record indicating whether all devices are operational and reporting; all software settings are valid; all data appears healthy; and even references your system benchmarks to look for performance issues. PL_RuleTool4
PL_RuleToolNoc3 The Rule Tool is a powerful and convenient feature to help users monitor the health of their portfolio assets. This feature can also help users track progress as they deploy new systems, providing a checklist for major steps in the initial site validation process. Results for the full portfolio are displayed in checklist table format, so users can quickly identify negative results. Results may also be displayed in operation center format.
If users find any negative results, they can open the details tab for any system to see complete results and explanations for the performed survey. If any further action is required, users can directly click through to site detail page views. PL_RuleToolHRC3
RuleToolNav4 We recommend that all PowerTrack users conduct regular Rule Tool surveys for ongoing oversight of their AlsoEnergy systems. The Rule Tool can also be a helpful first step diagnostic tool when users are responding to some triggered alerts.If you are a registered PowerTrack user, the Rule Tool is available in your web interface. Look for the Rule Tool under “Data” in left column navigation in PowerTrack (see screen grab image at left).


To see a training video for The Rule Tool, click here.


Please note that all Rule Tool queries may not be relevant for all systems; some queries are only active for systems with a source for localized weather data.



[nextpage title=”New Improved Mobile Apps for Apple and Android Devices”]

New Improved Mobile Apps for Apple and Android Devices

AlsoEnergy has created a better way for clients to access their system data while on site or on the go. We have just released new versions of our mobile apps for Apple and Android devices.

Like our first generation mobile apps, these new releases are designed to be a useful tool for installers and maintenance providers who may be working on site. These apps provide access to top-level KPIs for your monitored sites, but they also allow users to quickly drill down into technical data in order to locate and diagnosis system issues. In most cases, these apps make it possible to work with our technology systems on site without bringing a laptop computer.

The new versions of our mobile app offer all the features you know from our first generation apps, including real-time data and alert status, the diagnostic charting tool, and access to weather forecasts and camera feeds. But the new apps give users more power to access technical details, such as device configuration data. (Users who were working with the Android version of our original mobile app will see a significant upgrade in features and functionality.) Because these new apps were created by our own software team, this enables a much more agile development process for adding new features in the future.


The original version of our mobile app continues to be available in your app store. Users working with tablets may want to continue using the first generation of our mobile app since this version recognizes the tablet format and optimizes screen display for tablet usage. (If you are searching for our apps, please note that the new version is simply identified as “AlsoEnergy.” Do not confuse this with the listing for our first generation app, which is identified as “AlsoEnergy PowerTrack Mobile.” See the image to the right.) PL_AppStoreGrabs2

Get the iPhone version here.

Get the Android version here.



[nextpage title=”Client Success Story: 18MW Rincon 1 Solar Plant”]

Client Success Story: 18MW Rincon 1 Solar Plant


AlsoEnergy recently designed and deployed a SCADA system for an 18 MW solar plant in Rincon, Georgia. The Rincon 1 solar power plant is owned and operated by AES Distributed Energy. Georgia Power receives energy from the plant under the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement. The project was co-developed by Inovateus Solar, who also provided EPC services.

The initial project plan required that the Rincon solar plant follow voltage schedules from Southern Balancing Authority per bulk power operations procedure # BPO-1. AES would receive GenComm requests from the Southern Balancing Authority and remotely adjust the voltage set point schedule. (Post commissioning, AES received an exemption from Southern Company for voltage schedule requirements.)

AlsoEnergy designed a voltage control system compatible with the specified time schedule requirements. We deployed a power plant control solution to meet the following SCADA system specifications:

  • The controller system collects data from the substation and utility meters
  • This is a closed loop control system at the 230kV line tie point
  • The system automatically sends VAR set point commands to inverters every 2 seconds providing real time voltage control
  • The system adjusts Schneider inverters’ VAR set point based on remotely received voltage set point and point of interconnect line voltage
  • AES utilizes PowerTrack software interface to remotely set the voltage schedule based on requests from GenComm
  • AlsoEnergy PowerTrack platform provides a real-time remote HMI
  • System also provides closed loop curtailment functionality, managing the maximum output of the plant
  • PowerTrack software provides real-time charting of control parameters




AlsoEnergy delivered the SCADA system for Rincon 1 in a tight time window, enabling all project partners to meet their project deadlines. Since AES has other systems on the PowerTrack software platform, they are able to incorporate Rincon Solar 1 into various portfolio-level displays and reports. This reduces asset management workload for AES and contributes to efficient office workflow.

AlsoEnergy offers a range of control system options, from grid integration solutions up to full power plant control systems. Contact an AlsoEnergy Account Executive to get more information about our fully integrated control systems.




pl3AES-Logo About AES Distributed Energy:  AES Distributed Energy (part of the global AES Corporation) brings distributed energy systems to clients in the US. AES Distributed Energy has more than 100 MW of distributed generation solar PV projects in operation or under construction in the US with an additional 100+ MW in development.
Inovateus-Site-Icon About Inovateus Solar:  Inovateus Solar is one of the leading companies in the Midewest United States for solar development; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC); and supply. Headquartered in South Bend, Indiana, the company has developed and built more than 250 megawatts of utility, commercial and industrial, and microgrid solar systems in the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America. With strong roots in the communities it serves, Inovateus is passionately committed to Building A Brilliant TomorrowTM through the wide-scale deployment of advanced solar and clean energy technologies. Find out more at www.inovateus.com, or visit Inovateus on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.



[nextpage title=”PowerRIG is a CAISO Compliant RIG Replacement Solution”]

PowerRIG is a CAISO Compliant RIG Replacement Solution


The California ISO is replacing its current SHA-1 (Secure Hashing Algorithm, version 1) digital certificate trust chain with the new SHA-2. Users with SHA-1 certificates will need to replace with an SHA-2 version no later than May 7, 2017 to ensure Remote Intelligence Gateway (RIG) connectivity is maintained.

Some RIG units are no longer compatible with CAISO requirements. If you need to replace with a CAISO-compliant RIG solution, PowerRIG systems from AlsoEnergy accommodate SHA-2 certificate requirements. With PowerRIG from AlsoEnergy you will be able to maintain your connectivity to the ISO and stay in compliance.

Replacing your RIG with PowerRIG brings you all the benefits of working with AlsoEnergy:

  • Cost Effective:  Fully integrated technology solutions from AlsoEnergy help you save on hardware, installation, and system design. Plus you will reduce cost and save time with a single source for support and field service.
  • Mitigate Project Risk:  AlsoEnergy has extensive experience designing technology solutions for solar PV, and working with solar contractors, reporting agencies, etc. We guarantee that your solution will meet all CAISO requirements and system design imperatives.
  • Get PowerTrack:  When you get PowerRIG, you also get access to our PowerTrack software platform for a small fraction of overall system cost. PowerTrack includes powerful tools for PV performance evaluation, helping users to increase yield and lower O&M costs. PowerTrack also includes a full suite of features to help with asset management, saving time and money for our clients. The more systems you have with AlsoEnergy, the more you will be able to optimize the benefits of managing your portfolio assets on AlsoEnergy’s PowerTrack software platform.

Contact your AlsoEnergy Account Executive today for more information about cost-effective RIG replacements with PowerRIG.


[nextpage title=”AlsoEnergy Spring Tradeshow Schedule”]

AlsoEnergy Spring Tradeshow Schedule



AlsoEnergy is again glad to participate in Solar Asset Management North America (SAMNA) 2017. Hosted by Solarplaza, this event will be held March 28-29 at the Grand Hyatt, San Francisco. Our CEO Robert Schaefer will join a panel discussion on the topic “Solar Data and Analytics.”


AlsoEnergy will be exhibiting at Intersolar Europe 2017 in Munich, May 31 – June 2. We will be joined by our regional partner Survey Digital, who provide sales and support for AlsoEnergy in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. See us in Hall B3 at stand number 119. 


[nextpage title=”Check Out our Latest Training Videos”]

Check Out our Latest Training Videos


AlsoEnergy is constantly adding to our library of Training Videos. These videos are designed to share our software training program in short-form video format, and also to offer education for our product catalog and guidance for our sales process. These videos allow users to engage with AlsoEnergy training any time it may be convenient, and the video format allows users to pause, rewind, and re-watch, so they can digest the content at their own pace. All videos are posted on the AlsoEnergy YouTube Channel to enable convenient access for clients and prospective clients alike.

Our latest batch of videos covers a number of topics, including training for the new Rule Tool feature in PowerTrack, and an introduction to our HTML-based PowerTrack Web software platform. There are also new videos for hardware and engineering.

Click on any of the titles below to access our latest training videos:

New in PowerTrack:
The Rule Tool

PowerTrack Web

The Importance of
Accurate SLDs

Hardware Series:
Safety Introduction

Upgrade from
DECK to DECK 2.0

DECK 2.0


For a full list of PowerTrack Training Videos available to the public, check our website. PowerTrack Training Videos are also available in the Help section of the PowerTrack application.