Next week Solar Power International (SPI), the largest solar trade show in North America, kicks off in Las Vegas. With solar market installation growing upward of 95% there is a lot of excitement and anticipation around this year’s event. There has been a number of innovations tied to the solar industry over the last few years, but the Internet of Things is quickly becoming one of the key enablers of solar advancement. It allows for a layer of intelligence and two-way control that can enhance all solar deployments.
Solar energy has been obvious match for IoT connectivity for a long time. One of the main reasons is the remoteness of most installations. Maintaining installations often requires costly visits and relies on ongoing skilled labor to assure things are functioning as expected. Even if site visits are planned proactively to catch issues before they arise, it can be very expensive to maintain installations over time. This is where the IoT is revolutionizing solar power. By connecting the installations, companies can remotely monitor solar fields, cut down on routine site visits, and deploy service technicians only for necessary maintenance and to address issues when they arise.
Another reason connecting solar installations is becoming so popular is that it offers the opportunity to manage and react to solar supply and demand data in real-time, particularly in off-grid scenarios. With the ability to analyze and react to granular energy data, and the emergence of more sophisticated the management systems, companies are able to truly optimize energy supply and demand.
Companies like Morningstar are leading the charge in solar innovation using IoT as critical piece of the puzzle. They are a manufacturer and supplier of solar charge controllers and inverters, and work with customers who have off-grid solar deployments around the world. Built on the Xively Connected Product Management platform, Morningstar’s Envision management app delivers immediate insights into the health of off-grid systems and helps Morningstar offer two-way connectivity – that collects and shares product data with the end-users, and remotely control devices in the field. Xively also enables Morningstar to easily integrate data such as customer support history or system specifications in order to provide a rich picture to customers and allows for customizable alerts if the system detects less than optimal behavior, creating a truly robust customer experience.
Interested in learning more about Morningstar and Xively? If you’re going to be at SPI stop by and meet the Xively team and see Morningstar’s Envision app at Morningstar’s booth #1872. See you at SPI!