IoT in Solar Energy: Business Perspective [Case Study]

It is truly marvelous how quick solar energy development is moving today, isn’t it? In 2016 all solar industry amazed everyone by exceeding the mark of development 100 GW per year for the first time. In 2017 the world added nearly as much in just 12 months. A year later the mark got even higher with over 500 GW. With such a high-speed progress, the world requires new solutions. So how can iot and energy work together, and how does it change the market?   

Solar electricity heneration cost 2009-2018

[Global Market Outlook For Solar Power / 2019 - 2023 (pdf)]

How IoT in Solar Energy is beneficial for business

Internet of energy (IoE) is one of the most discussed concepts in renewable energy in the last few years. IoE idea is simple and elegant: to use of Internet of Things technology in distributed energy systems, so you can reduce wastage. By collecting data from sensors and calculating it, you learn about everything that is going on with your renewable energy. Today we will talk about one of such devices that uses IoT in solar energy — Solar Manager.

Meet Solar Manager

    Solar Manager lets the customers see what is going on with the energy they gain from solar panels. If you are a Solar Manager user, you will know:

  • Is any of your devices spending more than needed? 

  • Should you get more solar modules? 

  • Where does the energy go when not used? 

When you see the production and consumption of solar energy, you can distribute it optimally. Yes, it’s that easy: the device monitors all the power parameters, so you will get the whole picture.

So let’s dig into the problem Solar Manager introduced and what were our solutions. In this article we will study the case from the business point of view. If you want to know more about the technical part of our solution, you can find out about it in the next part of the article, which we will soon release. 

Starting the cooperation

    Solar Manager already developed the hardware part of the solution, before starting working with Indeema. What it lacked was firmware and software for it. Here is when Indeema came into the game. What was our job at this point, you ask? To create the best connection between the gadget itself and the user.

The business value of Solar Manager is simple: it makes customers aware of all the processes with their photovoltaic (PV) systems. If you use solar energy for powering your home — you definitely would like to know if there is a way to improving your energy management, right?

That is exactly what lead us in development: idea that software and firmware should be clear and simple. With that every homeowner will know exactly what is the usage of energy 

Here are the questions we asked ourselves when kicking off the work:

  • How the data should be gathered? 

  • How to present it to the end users? 

  • How to make it as clear and simple as possible, so every house owner can get what the Solar Manager is saying?

  • How to create a dashboard easy enough for user to control over solar energy usage?

  • How to ensure privacy and data protection?

With these requirements in mind, we were ready to start creating the product.

Creating the solution

        What do you start your work on a project with after defining the key idea? The right answer is by sticking to it as close as possible. The closer you are, the better value you provide to the user. Here are the features we focused on, when developing the product. Did we maintain the idea of plain and easy platform for household users? Judge by yourself:

  1. Quick and easy connection: every device is easily connected to the service

  2. Friendly interface: all the info you need is highlighted and UX is simple

  3. Energy trends calculation: statistics on energy usage, export/import and waste. All in real time. Everything on an easy to use dashboard

  4. Energy use management: set active hours, limit the consumption and redistribute how solar energy is used how you like

  5. Easy device updates: you can easily update the firmware through the UI whenever new firmware arrives

Solar manager interface

Creating such product takes time and money. To find out how much does it cost to create IoT solution, check out our article. You can also try out our calculator that helps estimate money and time needed to create an IoT project.

Client’s experience

Right now Solar Manager is actively conquering the Swiss market of renewable energy management. Here is what they think about working with us:

“Initial feedback and user engagement have been positive. While there have been a few connectivity problems, the platform and applications are designed efficiently. Indeema Software employs a team of hardworking and organized development experts. Their responsiveness spurred continued engagement.”

Solar panelsPhoto by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

Conclusion

IoT provides vital solutions for many businesses today. Same as renewable energy does for energy sector. How is the value of IoT in Solar Energy? In the case of Solar Manager you can see that the combination of both gives you a key to controlling the renewable energy without much effort put into it. 

If you are interested in creating your own IoT solution — read our article on 5 steps to creating your project.

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