Connecting Numerous Systems for a Brighter Solar Future

7 min video  /  2 minute read

Project Scope

  • Approx. 500 analog tags and several thousand status/alarm tags per spoke
  • 20 screens
  • 20 clients in use, typically (designed for 100 clients)
  • Ignition Hub & Spoke Architecture with cloud-hosted central gateway and historian
  • More than 30 spokes (more planned for future)

Project Overview

This project involved working with Canadian Solar to create CSEye — a custom hybrid asset performance monitoring and computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) application for the solar photovoltaic (PV) operations & maintenance sector of the renewable power-generating market. CSEye is a comprehensive tool providing value to stakeholders at all levels of the Canadian Solar operations & maintenance group. Ignition provided a customizable application development environment providing full access to critical operational data from various existing SCADA architectures while allowing the project to scale as needs arose.



Canadian Solar had internally developed separate systems for performance monitoring, reporting, and maintenance management. As the company’s portfolio of projects expanded globally, it was clear that the tools pieced together under necessity would not suffice or scale to the satisfaction of the Canadian Solar operations & maintenance team. And a market-leading approach to monitoring required a change from a retrospective analysis to a near-real-time analysis.



Ignition solved the problem of disjointed legacy systems, providing a single application environment capable of:

  • Cost-effective client licensing that would scale as needed
  • Gateway architecture suitable for cloud hosting, allowing server and resource scaling throughout the product lifecycle
  • Reliably feeding historical data from each spoke for near-real-time analysis
  • Using gateway services and distributed tags for centralized alarming and alarm management
  • Pulling historical and real-time data from various architectures including OPC-UA, Modbus, Ethernet IP, Siemens Ethernet, and RESTful web services
  • Configuring/deploying a spoke using templated UDT tagging structures, thus allowing for cost-effective integration to the central gateway
  • UDT tagging structures to provide tagging standardization at the central gateway
  • Standard charting tools for performance monitoring while providing fully customizable Python scripting and database queries for development of the maintenance management system



Building out the custom application within Ignition brought these benefits:

  • A single web-launched application for performance monitoring and maintenance management
  • A single application generating specific and relevant content for all users, including control room operators, data analysts, technicians, portfolio owners, and senior executives
  • Ability to respond to performance deviations and reduce lost generating opportunities
  • Ability to turn performance deviations and system alarms into actionable work orders with technician dispatch and resolution tracking
  • Architecture suitable for future adaptation and enhancement

As the CSEye application is used across the various disciplines, continuous feedback is being generated.  The application recently finished new development to bring in Japanese localization. The development team is undertaking the next phase of development focused on enhancing the tool for each user group.  The user group utilizes Jira issue & project tracking for providing feedback and has identified 70 opportunities for improvement. The team expects to have this new development completed by October 2017.

Project Information

Created By:   Eramosa Engineering Inc.

Eramosa is a specialized consulting engineering firm offering electrical, instrumentation & control, SCADA system engineering, system integration services, networking, and information technology solutions. Through dedicated attention to its key clients, Eramosa strives to develop long-lasting relationships based on trust, mutual respect, integrity, and technical excellence.

The company was incorporated in 1998 to provide clients with a specialized approach to implementing technology solutions for process control applications. Eramosa’s core values of fun, initiative, technical excellence, and trust add to the experience of its clients when working together on complex projects.


Project For:   Canadian Solar Solutions

Canadian Solar exists to make the difference. To customers, colleagues, partners, investors and all whose lives it touches. The company is here to make a positive difference to the environment and society as a whole. Canadian Solar does this by providing exceptional products and services that meet the specific needs of customers, employees, partners and investors. Founded in 2001, Canadian Solar operates as a global energy provider with successful business subsidiaries in 20 countries on six continents. Besides serving as a leading manufacturer of solar PV modules and provider of solar energy solutions, Canadian Solar has a geographically diversified pipeline of utility-scale power projects. Canadian Solar employs over 8,900 workers worldwide.

Posted on September 1, 2017