Case Study

Photon Energy Deepening Insights to Improve Project Outcomes

Photon Energy

Photon Energy provides renewable energy and flexibility solutions to help everyone benefit from the green transition. 

With over 15 years of industry experience, their work ranges from the development, construction and operation of solar power installations to localised energy trading and flexibility solutions in Australia and Eastern Europe. They are also an independent power producer with a growing portfolio of PV power plants. 

In 2021, their solar power plants generated 103.3 GWh of clean electricity and 43,867 tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided. Their work is focused on providing consistent, long-term benefits to the people and communities impacted by it, and to the world at large.

Deepening insights to improve outcomes

As the energy transition continues, projects are becoming more diverse and more complex. Photon Energy recognised the need for a robust modelling tool that could offer more than just surface-level insights. The traditional tools at their disposal, including widely used spreadsheets, were proving inadequate for the complex analyses required in the industry today. 

In 2023, Photon Energy Australia engaged Gridcog as a means to further optimise the profitability of their clean energy projects. Gridcog's software emerged as the solution, promising a blend of sophistication and user-friendliness that could transform data into actionable intelligence.

“There were three factors that led us to choose Gridcog. First, we needed to ensure we have modelling capability in our tool set. It allows us to keep up to date with all the different business models and different asset classes that are going to come online over the next eight years. 

Second, the projects we work on typically involve investors of various kinds. Being able to have a separate process and open infrastructure around how certain answers are built means that we can be arguing over assumptions, over relevance in the input, but we’re not arguing over the accuracy of the calculations. 

The third element is around sustainability of modelling. We wanted a tool that regardless of who was undertaking the modelling, in what country, at what skill level, when talking about analysing the value and use of assets, that there is a consistent set of updated models and libraries that are used to be able to do that analysis,” said Josh Harvey, General Manager. 

This collaboration is rooted in a shared vision of leveraging technology to not only enhance operational efficiencies but also to deepen the understanding of the myriad factors influencing clean energy project success.

The choice of Gridcog was driven by its capability to simulate various project scenarios, assess economic viability, and analyse the technical parameters critical to project success. “The software allows us to quickly turn around complex financial models, which is invaluable in a market that's as dynamic and competitive as this one,” Ugur Uzer, Project Manager/Engineer.

This sentiment echoes the broader industry trend towards digital transformation, where data analytics and modelling software become central to strategic decision-making.

By using Gridcog's modelling software, Photon Energy has been able to delve deeper into the parameters that dictate project profitability. Variables such as capital expenditure, operational costs, tariff rates, and solar irradiance can be meticulously modelled to predict financial outcomes with a high degree of accuracy. This level of detail is crucial for Photon Energy as it navigates the challenges and opportunities presented by the global shift towards renewable energy sources.

“We know they've got incredible knowledge of modelling and the market, and we can always reach out for help. That's one of the key reasons we love Gridcog. It's the service team, it's the people behind the software.” said Ugur Uzer, Project Manager/Engineer. 

“The beauty of Gridcog is you've got a lot of flexibility. There are so many different kinds of assets out there and if you’re relying on spreadsheets it is really hard to connect them together to find the best solution out of all of those assets. With Gridcog, we can simply click and drag an asset into the model and test out if it makes sense or not,” said Eden Yin, Financial Analyst. 

“It’s improved our own understanding of what parameters affect each project the most and how we can shape that and take a more informed approach to the design and selection of assets and sites,” said Leo E, Senior Electrical Engineer. 

Working together to accelerate the energy transition

The partnership between Photon Energy and Gridcog is a collaborative effort pushing the boundaries of what's possible in clean energy modelling. The feedback loop from Photon Energy to Gridcog has led to continuous improvements in the software, ensuring that it remains at the cutting edge and meets the evolving needs of the industry.

As Photon Energy continues to expand its footprint, the insights and efficiencies gained from using Gridcog's software will be pivotal. The ability to quickly adapt to market changes, forecast profitability under different scenarios, and understand the complex interplay of factors influencing project success positions Photon Energy as a leader in the renewable energy transition.

“One of the things that I'm talking with the team about is, ‘Before you go in and start modelling, you need to get to know and understand the project in detail, the business outcome, the business application, and the regulatory environment you're being asked to design for. And once you've got a strong understanding of those overall system questions, then you can get into the modelling and be able to pick out the various information, assumptions, input data, and the appropriate libraries.

Being able to actually have a tool that can turn complex models around quickly and be able to actually prove to ourselves that going after a specific strategy or model business application is worth it. It pays for itself.” said Josh Harvey.

The partnership between Photon Energy and Gridcog exemplifies how technology and innovation can drive the renewable energy sector forward. By harnessing the power of Gridcog's modelling software, Photon Energy is not only optimising its current projects but also setting the stage for future growth and success in an increasingly competitive and complex market. This collaboration is a testament to the transformative potential of digital tools in unlocking new opportunities and insights in the renewable energy landscape.

Alex Leemon
Flexibility Markets Lead
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