Solar industry most advanced energy sector to drive digital transformation

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Dana Olson Dana Olson
Solar Segment Leader
Solar Generation
Demand for skills in blockchain technologies 50% higher in solar industry than whole of energy industry, impact of the use of drones 33% higher in solar industry than in other energy industries & solar stakeholders identify lack of standards in their industry, indicating common framework could help advance digitalization further.
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ARNHEM, The Netherlands – 16 May 2019 - The solar industry is leading the way in its digital transformation compared to other energy industries. These are the key findings of DNV GL’s report on Digitalization and the Future of the Solar Energy Industry, which surveyed nearly 2000 engineers and senior executives from start-ups to large corporations in the energy sector.

Solar companies are putting a strong focus on blockchain technology to drive their digital transformation, with 12% of respondents stating that skillsets to implement blockchain applications are needed in their industry, which is 50% higher than in other energy industries. The use of this technology is still in its infancy, however blockchain applications provide the opportunity to make an impact on areas such as decentralized energy transactions, renewable energy provenance, metering and billing. 

Other digital technologies that are more advanced are already an integral part of the solar industry. Drones for asset inspections, mapping using satellite data and automated resource assessment, for example, are widely used in the solar industry, with 33% of respondents saying these are making an impact on their business, which is 1/3 higher than for the rest of the energy industry. 

However, the solar industry also identified a lack of standards in their trade. Although the solar business has made attempts at standardization it isn’t as advanced as other industries. Defining a framework based on digital tools will ensure the industry can develop to the next level.

“The solar industry has been traditionally very progressive in adopting new digital technologies, which has been key for much of the industry’s growth. Our survey results show that many industries saw the lack of a digital mindset as a main barrier to digitalization. However, only 13% of solar respondents ranked this as their number one concern, which is the lowest of all industries surveyed. We see that the mindset of the solar industry is geared towards embracing new technologies to further advancements in their field, which is a very promising signal that digitalization will play an integral part in solving the challenges the industry will face in the future,” said Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL Energy. 

The full report Digitalization and the future of energy: Beyond the hype - How to create value by combining digital technology, people and business strategy and the solar-specific report Digitalization and the Future of the Solar Energy Industry are available to download here.

Energy Digitalization
At DNV GL we combine our deep energy domain knowledge with cutting-edge digital technology to provide world-leading digital solutions across the power and renewables industry. We manage over 24 GW of real-time operational data from solar PV, wind and storage assets of which our Green Power Monitor solutions manage 14.5 GW of solar PV plants including 25 mega-plants of over 100 MW each. We have analysed over 65 GW of operating wind assets and our analysts review over 12,500 wind, solar and grid sensors each week. Smart Cable Guard, a digital system for grid reliability, detects the location of electrical cable network failures with an accuracy of greater than 99%, preventing 65% of such failures. Dutch distribution operator Alliander has recently installed 1000 Smart Cable Guard systems in its grids, aiming to become the most reliable grid in The Netherlands. We help utilities implement data-driven energy efficiency programs which have saved over 7.9 TWh over the last 3 years.

About DNV GL 
DNV GL is a global quality assurance and risk management company. Driven by our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, we enable our customers to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. We provide classification, technical assurance, software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil & gas, power and renewables industries. We also provide certification and supply chain services to customers across a wide range of industries. Operating in more than 100 countries, our experts are dedicated to helping customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

DNV GL in the power and renewables industry
DNV GL delivers world-renowned testing and advisory services to the energy value chain including renewables and energy management. Our expertise spans onshore and offshore wind power, solar, conventional generation, transmission and distribution, smart grids, and sustainable energy use, as well as energy markets and regulations. Our experts support customers around the globe in delivering a safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy supply.

Learn more at www.dnvgl.com/power-renewables.

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