Solar is the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the world, increasing in worldwide capacity by an average of 40 percent every year. Many energy companies are expanding to offer solar, which is among the most energy-efficient and lucrative sources of renewable electricity on the market.
Today, solar energy companies have more options than ever before for making the most out of their equipment. Harnessing the power of the IoT can resolve common challenges associated with complex energy grids and make it far easier to manage panels and energy output. For solar energy companies, installing an IoT system will help meet customers’ demands and improve overall efficiency.
While it has many advantages, solar power can be a challenge for energy companies when it comes to management. To start, you need to connect solar panels to the utility grid. You also need to ensure that your cellular modules, gateways and web platforms are all integrated properly, without breaks in connectivity. Supposing that your system is fully integrated, you still need this equipment and software to tell you in real-time whether your solar station is delivering sufficient energy levels and maintaining load balance on the grid. Any renewable energy source, such as solar, wind, or biomass, experiences fluctuating energy generation in response to changes in the weather and other environmental factors. Your power grid needs to adapt to these changes so you can ensure that you’re maximizing your grid usage and load at all times.
These factors are complicated by the fact that renewable energy plants, such as solar and wind, tend to be clustered and widely distributed. When an energy system becomes too complex, it can cause a logistical nightmare for technicians and other grid managers. For example, making sure that each panel is running efficiently becomes more difficult as you add more panels to the mix. Generally, the more complex your system is and the more devices you have in your grid, the more likely you are to have holes in your system’s security.
Simple, Integrated Systems Are the Future of IoT in Solar Energy
While some challenges do exist, by using IoT in solar energy, you can solve many of these issues with little effort and investment. The key to success is to install a simple, fully-integrated system that allows you to manage your entire grid.
The main benefit of using IoT in solar energy is that you can see exactly what’s happening with all your assets from one central control panel. By connecting your devices to a cloud network, you can identify where the problem originated and dispatch a technician to fix it before it disrupts your entire system. For instance, you may see that your network is running perfectly, but there is a problem with one of your devices. Without the IoT, it would be difficult to determine whether the problem was network-related or hardware-related. The IoT provides the intelligence for you to identify issues in real time, as the error occurs so the source can be located and resolved quickly.
Using the IoT, your system will be less susceptible to outages and productivity issues (resulting from downtime) and potentially costly security breaches.
The IoT and Smart Metering Innovations
Leveraging IoT in solar energy can lead to improvements in smart metering. This makes energy production more efficient both in terms of cost and logistics.
On the hardware side, companies can install OEM equipment to their grid, along with metering components that track any data that the company needs to enable new services.
On the network side, using cellular connectivity in a solar energy array allows you to accommodate 2G, LPWA, and other LTE networks for faster, more reliable connections with low power requirements.
In general, any one of these connectivity solutions can be adapted to suit your needs and the demands of your industry.
In conclusion, every solar company should focus on simplifying the development of their connected products. This makes it far easier to focus on what’s important — producing electricity in the most efficient way possible, without spending years creating an integrated proof system to handle the equipment and data.