Mytrah Energy, a prominent wind power producer in India, has done what only a few Indian wind power developers have – it has developed its own proprietary software and algorithms for identifying suitable wind farms (through wind pattern analytics) and also once operational, software for constantly analysing the performance of the wind turbines.
These software are not exactly new. What’s somewhat new is that an IPP (independent power producer) has gone ahead and invested in developing these on their own, rather than rely on third party software or software solutions provided by wind turbine OEMs (such as Suzlon, Gamesa, ReGen etc).
Does it make sense for an IPP to develop his own software instead of purchasing the software from dedicated solution providers?
I guess the answer to that question depends on the scale and ambitions of the IPP.
Purists will argue that the IPP is not in the business of software development, and it should hence focus on the core function of generating power efficiently. Whatever technology is needed to do this can be outsourced. This model will fit a classical strategic recommendation. Even from a practical point of view, it might not be in the best interests of an IPP to recruit and maintain an IT team – ask any software firm how difficult it is to retain good IT talent!
But then, it might be an advantage for an IPP to build its own software expertise if it aims really high in terms of both scale and customised offerings. For instance, if the IPP tomorrow wishes to focus on the third party sale of power to private firms, having its own software could enable it to offer monitoring and control solutions that its competitors might not be able to offer, as they might be using off-the-shelf IT solutions. Having its own solution could also make it easier for it to offer its private purchasers the ability to have some custom monitoring and reporting based on the needs of the customer.
And who knows, if they are able to develop a really superior solution, they might be able to offer it to other IPPs in future. Given that these are developed in India, a relatively low cost software development country, they might be able to offer these at costs lower than the software solutions of European firms. Of course, under this model, the IPP is also in the business of IT solutions – usually, this hybrid model of being a product developer and commercial developer of a supporting software for that product doesn’t work well, but that’s just usually.
Here’s more on Mytrah’s venturing into IT solutions development on its own.