Case Study

Solar Power Plants Management Software

A manufacturer of photovoltaic solar modules was looking to build a software solution that would help its clients manage their “fields” of solar modules.

Object

A German-based engineering company that produced photovoltaic solar modules for large European solar power plants lacked a software solution that could monitor and manage of the parameters of its solar modules. This meant each power plant had to integrate 3rd party software or develop their own custom software solution.

Since the company didn’t have the required software development expertise, it was necessary for them to source a reliable vendor capable of creating a full-fledged software product. The vendor would also be responsible for conducting a testing phase with existing customers, implementing training, and undertake further development and support for the following 10 years.

  • Assembly
  • C/C++
  • php
    PHP
  • Node.js
    Node.js
  • AWS
    AWS
An intelligent management platform built for commercial and personal-use power plants.

Solution

In order to get the project off the ground, the first step was to create two Scrum teams that would work simultaneously. One team consisted of hardware engineers. Their goal was to develop hardware modules for the fifty plus parameters—gathering and aggregating information from each field module, as well as transferring information to a private cloud. The team’s Lead Engineer had relevant experience in developing similar modules that, despite harsh field conditions, had to process and transfer a large flow of information to the server even in the face of connection instability. The team also included another 4 mid-level hardware engineers and one QA specialist.

The second Scrum team focused on the web development and processing of the large volume of real-time data in the cloud. It consisted of a technical lead, the backend engineers, two frontend engineers, a DBA, a DevOps, and two QAs.

Brightgrove assigned a Product Owner and a Scrum Master to control and manage the whole process. One third of the engineers from each team worked onsite at one of the power plants in order to have access to functioning equipment. This would also be the site where the first version of the software solution would launch.

The first version of the product hardware and software was developed and tested over 8 months. For the next 6 months the version continued to work in testing mode at 2 power plants. This allowed time for refinements as the solution was used in a real-world setting. Subsequently, the solution was launched at another 5 power plants.

Product development continues and the team has the current Epics in the backlog planned for the next 2 years. At present, a new software solution is being launched, and it will complement the existing one. Its aim is to improve the power plant’s management with the help of statistical algorithms and machine learning by optimizing the functioning of each photovoltaic solar module, thousands of which can be deployed.

Business Impact

  • Since their competitors either lacked a software management solution or had a primitive version, the company was able to significantly increase its customer base by providing a better solution.

  • The company grew their recurring revenue stream by selling licences to the software.

  • Existing customers have placed orders for additional solar modules.

  • The efficiency of power plants has grown by 8% on average and continues to grow as recent software versions provide more insight into proper management.

  • 18

    Engineers

  • 2.5 years

    Working with Brightgrove

  • 85%

    Revenue Increase

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