From Aeris: "How Solar Power Systems Use Cellular Monitoring to Advance Renewable Energy"
Written by Carmi Brandis from Aeris Communications
Solar energy usage is on the rise nationwide as the technology becomes more efficient and cost effective. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy sources accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world in 2016, with solar energy expanding faster than any other fuel source to surpass the net growth in coal for the first time in history.
However, solar energy still faces challenges when competing against mainstream forms of energy production. Traditional energy sources, such as natural gas, take advantage of fully developed infrastructures that make it readily available as needed. In order to keep up, solar panel and inverter manufacturers have implemented SIM-enabled cellular networking to monitor and control devices. With cellular monitoring, solar energy providers can diagnose and manage their systems remotely, driving down operating costs.
SIM-enabled Solar Energy Offers Greater Versatility and Power Insights
SIM-enabled solar energy monitoring systems collect information regarding power levels and usage. Monitoring software can track historical weather-based performance data to help operators forecast future expectations, as well as detect problems and defects with panels, with triggered alerts to recommend repairs.
Solar energy systems often utilize revenue-grade meters (RGM) to track energy production and consumption. RGMs operate properly in any environmental and electronic condition, with a +/- 2% measurement accuracy that allows solar users to take advantage of performance-based incentives, such as Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). Using the large service area and reliable connectivity of cellular networking, solar companies ensure RGM data is collected without interruption so they can make remote operational adjustments as needed.
Cellular vs. Wi-Fi Connectivity
Since solar energy monitoring is cloud-based, the system must maintain a stable connection in order to provide effective analytics and receive instructions from a management platform. Stability is where SIM-enabled cellular networks excel over connection options like Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Cellular networks always are on and do not depend on physical cables or modems to operate. A system relying on Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections run the risk of service outages stifling data collection, making it difficult to measure and manage system performance.
SIM-enabled cellular also offers greater security for solar energy data through government-regulated, automatically encrypted networks. In more susceptible systems, such as with Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections, sensitive operational data is open to being mined or altered in ways that could compromise the system’s effectiveness. With cellular networks, data encryption is prohibitively difficult to crack, ensuring the collected data is free from loss or tampering.
The Future: Solar Power and Embedded SIM
Solar energy systems also stand to see great benefit from embedded SIM (eSIM) technology. Aside from their smaller form factor taking up less design space, eSIM cards are more durable than traditional SIMs due to their permanent integration with the device, making them ideal for the high temperature environments of solar energy systems. The remote provisioning capabilities of eSIM cards allow them to be shipped directly to the site and installed with the solar power system. Management platforms can adjust their performance capabilities or reprovision any eSIM without having to send a technician to the site.
Solar Powered Energy Solutions, Enabled by Neo SIM Connectivity
Neo SIM cards offer simple, secure IoT connectivity for solar energy infrastructures. From our built-in single management platform, AerPort, operators can monitor and manage solar power consumption and target devices for quick repairs to ensure optimal performance. With a secure, cloud-based connection that doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi or Ethernet, Neo offers solar energy providers a dependable connectivity solution that keeps them competitive in the growing renewable energy market.
To learn more about how Neo can power your solar energy infrastructure, contact us today.
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