The photovoltaic market is experiencing considerable global growth. Analysts predict more than 120 solar energy gigawatts will be installed this year, with a stable annual growth rate between 40% and 50% just in Europe.
Nowadays solar energy is profitable simply by itself, with no need for additional public grants. Nevertheless, it is imperative to maintain strict control over the operating parameters of the plants.
One of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) to be considered for the return on investment (ROI) of the facilities is the Performance Ratio (PR), which combines solar radiation with the generation of energy. This measure permits the detection of performance drops in real-time and allows immediate action and correction, avoiding and minimizing negative impact.
Any variation in the PR, which must be between 80% and 90%, can help the operations personnel of the plant detect design failures, cleaning or any other internal or external factors.
Datasol photovoltaic sensor working with Waspomote Plug & Sense!
The new kits developed by Libelium and SmartDataSystem allow users to monitor environmental and physical parameters directly related to the photovoltaic modules. Not only can they measure solar radiation, air temperature and temperature of the cell, they also allow direct integration with the photovoltaic inverters. Permitting the collation of information on string voltage and current, AC voltage and current, DC and AC energy generation, alarms, etc.
These kits also allow the integration of any Modbus-RTU operating device on RS-485, such as electrical network analyzers for the measurement of the energy consumed in the building in which the photovoltaic systems are located.
With photovoltaic systems connected to the interior networks of buildings, it is possible to calculate how much of the energy consumed has been self-generated. It is a key factor in verifying the correct dimensions of photovoltaic systems, since the objective is to minimize the export of energy to the national grid and maximize self-consumption.
“Adding IoT technology to photovoltaic systems provides tools that help maximize the return on investment (ROI) through a tight tracking of standard solar metrics such as the Performance Ratio, Solar Coverage and Inverter Efficiency among others. For existing systems, it can help detect design errors and optimize solar panels cleaning programs” says Adan Salcedo, Business Development Director at SmartDataSystem.
Diagram of a solar power plant with Datasol sensor
Libelium offers, through The IoT Marketplace, four IoT kits with different configurations including hardware and connectivity so that project developers can integrate this technology and move towards scalability of investments.
For more technical information read the Smart Agriculture Xtreme Technical Guide.
For more information about our products contact the Libelium Sales Department.
Kits in The IoT Marketplace: