The ever increasing energy demand and conventional grid dependency is the main reason provoking an increase in electricity cost, the high rising energy bills are what consumers are concerned about.
Switching to solar energy proves to be a prominent and reliable energy solution due to the series of economic benefits it offers for 25 plus years.
The output of the solar panel varies with parameters such as voltage, current, and environmental conditions. Though the solar energy system doesn’t need much maintenance, to avail of the benefits of solar for a long duration, real-time monitoring of the solar panel is a good practice to ensure that the solar panels are performing to their full potential.
Smart solar monitoring systems using the internet of things(IoT) promote remote live tracking and recording of the solar energy system operation.
Myth: Solar monitoring system is just an additional cost burden!!
Reality: Solar energy monitoring system provides live tracking and recording, thus enhancing solar system performance and rendering a high rate of return.
In this article, we have elaborated in detail on smart solar monitoring systems and their importance in solar energy systems.
Why an IoT based smart solar power monitoring system?
The solar energy system consists of various components such as solar panels, inverters, batteries and other components wired together.
The output of solar panels varies with different environmental factors such as solar radiation intensity, shadow, climatic conditions etc. and continuous monitoring of these factors is a tedious task especially for the off-grid/remote solar energy system.
I know as a consumer you might be thinking, why do we need the smart solar monitoring system when a solar inverter can perform the monitoring function?
As we know, the solar inverter installed in the solar energy system comes with a performance monitoring function, but these inverters fail to provide real-time performance monitoring and recording.
Also, the inverter fails to operate in case of grid failure due to the anti-islanding function.
What is a Smart Solar Monitoring System?
The smart photovoltaic(PV) monitoring system is a combination of hardware and software.
It is an online platform that conducts real-time monitoring of the solar system using components such as sensors, data loggers, etc.
The analysed data is transferred to the mobile application using IoT(Internet of things) for predictive maintenance and cause assessment in case of any failure.
The real time monitoring data can also be used to do comparative analysis using the past data and trends to drive conclusions.
Smart solar monitoring functions:
- Real-Time Monitoring: High-quality sensors such as the pyranometer/irradiance sensor, temperature sensor, environment sensors etc. are assembled in the monitoring system to sense and record the real-time data.
The IoT based solar monitoring system performs centralised remote monitoring and tracking the real-time performance data of the solar assets such as performance degradation, downtime, losses etc causing generation loss.
- Data Storage: The monitored data is stored in the system and can be retrieved at any time to identify the solar energy system efficiency.
- Performance Graph: The smart photovoltaic monitoring system comes with a dashboard facility i.e. one can view the entire data recorded of all the assets in one place through cellular or desktop application. The recorded data is displayed in the form of a graph and gets daily, monthly reports (timely reports can be generated depending on the requirement) through SMS or Email.
4. Fault Detection: The monitoring system comes with an alarming function incase of high temperature or fuse abnormalities etc. (one can set the alarming function as per the parameter and location requirement)
5. Predictive Analysis: The data analysed records and monitors the real-time gap between the expected and generated energy. This enables the customer to make future decisions depending on the historical stored data.
How do IoT based solar power monitoring devices work?
- The rooftop solar energy system consists of several solar panels wired together, these solar panels using photovoltaic processes convert solar radiations into the direct current. The next step involves conversion of DC energy into AC energy (most of the residential loads and grid-connected works on AC supply) using an inverter.
- The solar energy system consists of a series of sensors placed at a distinct location to monitor and track the solar panel output performance.
- These sensors will measure the irradiation, ambient temperature, module temperature, wind speed and other parameters affecting the solar panel and its components.
- The generated data is transferred to the IoT gateway and is uploaded to the cloud to monitor the data.
- The data uploaded on the cloud can be easily accessed at any time by the user and installer through the monitoring application.
- To get access to this continuous data a well-versed system with consistent connectivity including the cellular/wifi network is important.
- For stable functioning of the IoT based solar energy monitoring system, proper network connectivity is an important parameter to ensure accurate data tracking.
For example, if a solar panel gets covered with shadow or soiling, the IoT based system will send the data to your device to take preventive steps to improve the solar panel efficiency.
Challenges of IoT based solar energy system:
- Consistent connectivity
- Data security
- Integrated solar cell modules
- Continuous monitoring of all the assets is a complex task
All these challenges can be subdued with a reliable and efficient smart solar monitoring application, robust cloud-based networking and tracking system that provides consistent real-time monitoring at just a click.
When it comes to the solar energy system, to harness power for a long 25 plus years, a proper solar installation accompanied by a remote monitoring system to assist in proper maintenance of the system is a key for a high rate of return.
Thinking of switching to solar, contact us.
We at SunEdison take care right from installation to remote monitoring application.
Sunedison application provides continuous monitoring of the solar energy system installed for performance analysation, to fulfil the promise of a 25 years warranty of the system.
In case of any queries regarding solar energy system installation at your location, our technical team will be happy to assist you.