Solar Tracker, IoT Gateway & Cloud based SCADA Solution for Energy Harvesting
Return on Investments (RoI) of your Solar Energy plant is majorly dependent on the efficient harvesting of energy by the Solar Panels. This can be ensured only when the solar panels follow the sun’s trajectory efficiently throughout the day.
Our industry proven, Internet of Things based Solar Tracking System and intelligent software solution is designed to help you achieve the best out of your investments.
We help you custom-design and develop an IoT based solar panel monitoring system & reporting solution that increases the efficiency of your solar plant. The solutions we design comprise of the following components:
- An IoT system designed in a master and slave architecture of trackers to control the Solar PV modules
- A Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for remote monitoring and control of the field-deployed Solar Panels
Solar Energy Monitoring System Using IoT: Success Stories
Find out how we are partnering with industry leaders to create intelligent, fool-proof industrial maintenance systems using Predictive Maintenance:
IoT Platform Development for Solar Tracking System
- Business Challenge:
- Our customer found it difficult to effectively manage thousands of solar panels in an open-field deployment. Hence, they were investigating the benefits of an IoT based solar panel monitoring system.
- They wished to automate the process of the alignment of solar PV modules to the changing position of the sun throughout the day. .
- Embitel Impact:
- Our team of IoT engineers, led by industry veterans, developed a smart solar energy harvesting system. This included an IoT gateway device that would control the network of solar trackers.
- Based on the sun position algorithm, the trackers were able to tap maximum amount of energy from dawn to dusk.
Cost-effective Solar Panel Controller Development for Global Clean Energy Company
- Business Challenge:
- Our customer decided to integrate an IoT technology stack into their solar power plant to improve efficiency of energy harvesting.
- Their primary concern was that shadows of adjacent solar panels were falling on each other to reduce panel efficiency.
- Embitel Impact:
- We conceived a cost-effective solution that leverages an IoT system of sensors, algorithms and feedback mechanisms to control the movement of the solar panels.
- The panels could, hence, follow the trajectory of the Sun without any shadowing issue.
- Integration of our solar energy monitoring system using IoT improved the power output of the plant by a significant amount.
SCADA Solution Development for a Solar Tracking System
- Business Challenge:
Our customer desired to automate the tracking, monitoring and configuration activities of all assets at their solar power plant.
- Embitel Impact:
- We designed and developed a cloud-based SCADA solution that facilitated remote monitoring and control of solar panels in an efficient manner.
- The system also maintained past data for offline analysis and reporting.
- Additionally, we incorporated Firmware Over the Air update functionality for the system.
- Our solution was deployed by the customer across their solar plants in various geographies.
Embedded Product Design Services for Solar Energy Harvesting System
Solar Tracker Development
- Hardware Consulting and Design Services for Solar Tracker Development
- Solar Tracker Application Software and Back-Tracking Algorithm Development
- Design and Development of Serial, Wired and Wireless Communication Interfaces
IoT Gateway Development
- Hardware Architecture design and BOM cost optimization
- Prototype development and validation support
- Support for Porting of the Linux based OS for the Gateway Device
- Development of Application Software on Linux Platform
Motor Control Development
- Support for Evaluation, Selection and Design of Microcontroller, H-Bridge (MOSFETs), Gate Driver IC, Torque & Angle Sensors
- Design and Development of hardware for Motors (Brush DC and Brushless DC motors ( BLDC))
- Application Software & Motor Control Algorithm Development (PWM, Speed Regulation, FOC)
IoT Cloud App Development
- Cloud WebApp Development
- Cloud Database Development services
- IoT Data Analytics and Reporting
- User Web Dashboard Development
- Cloud based SCADA solution development for Industrial Automation projects
Meet Our IoT Leaders
Suhas has over 25 years of experience in Embedded Engineering & Software Development. He is well-known, among his peers and customers, for his ability to ensure timely delivery of IoT projects. He has been instrumental in the successful completion of some challenging and large scale IoT projects at EmbitelSuhas Tanawade, Senior Delivery and Account Manger, IoT
Features of Our End-to-end IoT Solution for Solar Energy Harvesting
- Zigbee protocol for communication between master and tracker controller ensures reduced power footprint. As a fallback mechanism, RS 485 Ring topology can also be implemented in case Zigbee fails.
- The provision of 4G and RJ45 ensure fool-proof connectivity between master controller and the server.
- Environmental factors like wind and temperature can impact the efficiency of the solar panels. Wind sensor in the master controller warns the system of unsafe wind speed and the temperature sensors ensure the maintenance of safe temperature range
- SPA makes this solar energy harvesting platform a winning solution. Solar Position Algorithm takes in Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, Date and Time and calculates the position of the sun along the day.
- Based on the sun’s angle, the tracker sends the signal to the inclinometer attached to the solar panel to change the angle of the panel and align it to the sun.
- There can be instances when the master controller cannot connect with the server. The IoT solution takes care of this problem by storing 7 days backlog data in the flash memory of master controller. Your valuable data is never lost when our system is at work.
Solar Panel Monitoring Using IoT – Components of the System
- Master Controller: The master controller is responsible for coordinating and controlling the solar trackers. The data collected by the trackers are sent to the master and subsequently to the cloud for storage and analysis purpose. Master controller can be connected to the tracker via Zigbee protocol, WiFi and other protocols as per the requirement.
- Tracker Controller: Tracker controller is the component that does all the hard work. It takes input from master controller and controls the AC/DC motor drive that, in turn, moves the Solar PVs accordingly. It has the sun position algorithm, Zigbee module, RS 485, serial NOR flash, temperature and wind sensors and a few other components.
- Interface for Hand-held Device/Web Dashboard: The SCADA based interface allows the monitoring and control of the master controllers and, in turn, the tracker controller and actuators.
The web dashboard is a customizable interface that displays real-time data from different master controllers. The design and navigation of the dashboard can be customized based on the implementation of the solar trackers.
The multi-functional dashboard can also send pre-programmed commands to the master controller viz. CLEAN, STOW, RESET, OTA, etc.
Expertise in Tools & Technologies
- Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT): MQTT is built for the Internet of Things. Its lightweight nature makes it compatible with some of the smallest devices used in IoT.
- Zigbee Protocol: Zigbee is an industry-standard wireless communication protocol ideal for implementation where data exchange is occurring within a range of 100 meters. Its low power footprint makes it a preferred protocol for industrial IoT.
- RS-485 & MODBUS: RS-485 is one of the most reliable standards for use in serial communication system. MODBUS is a protocol that has impressive compatibility with RS-485.
[Video] How Internet of Things (IoT) Powers a Solar Tracking System?
Ans. Cost-Efficiency! The master –slave architecture brings down the cost, which will otherwise be incurred in setting-up high speed network connection between the individual tracker-controllers and the cloud.
Field-deployments of a Solar Energy Project are spread across acres of land. In order to achieve the desired RoI, cost of deployments becomes a critical factor.
In the master-slave architecture, we ensure that the individual tracker-controllers (Slaves) of the Solar Panels are connected to a dedicated Master Controller (IoT Gateway) through a low cost ZigBee network for local communications. A single master controller can be connected to and handle numerous (depending upon the application requirement) trackers at a time.
In such a system, the data aggregated from various trackers is managed locally by the master controller. The data is later forwarded to the server by the master controller. Thus the number of connections made to the server is reduced considerably.
The Master Controller (or the IoT Gateway) is then connected to the Cloud using a high speed 4G connection. Depending on the scale of the deployments of the Solar Panels, we can design a network of multiple Master and Slave tracker-controllers.
Such a system design not only helps in improving the network efficiency but also helps in optimizing the efficiency and speed of the server.
Ans. Yes, it does. We have a trigger-based OTA software & security updating system. The Master controller plays the key role in firmware update.
The Master Controller checks the SCADA server for new firmware for itself as well as for the Slave Trackers. Depending on the trigger the Master controller updates itself and also updates the trackers over ZigBee.
Ans. Through the SCADA system, we have a provision for you to test a particular OTA software /security update before releasing the same across the system. An update can be tested in selected Master Controllers before updating all the Master Gateways and Slave Controllers.
Ans. Our Solar Energy Harvesting solution can be termed “fully scalable”, especially with respect to the hardware, the software, network & storage capacity etc. Scalability is achieved by dividing the system into subsystems consisting of smaller, manageable units, based on the geographical location.
At the Site level: Depending on the total area of the site, an optimal network of master controllers and slave trackers are designed based on key requirements such as performance, efficiency, and deployment costs. In case, the area of the solar field increases post-the initial deployment phase, additional devices can be added to the existing network, as per the requirement.
At the SCADA System level: Data in a typical SCADA system is managed and stored region-wise. Depending on the number of devices connected to the SCADA system, the database can be scaled up to cater to the new storage needs.
At the Software level: Software scalability enables addition of new features, new control functions or any extra parameters to be monitored, to the existing system. The rate at which data gets updated to the SCADA can also be modified here.
Ans. One of the key features of the Solar Position Algorithm is that it ensures that the tracker aligns the Solar Panel in an angle that provides maximum exposure to the Sunlight at any given time of the day.
The algorithm uses parameters like the Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, Time Zone, Date and Time related to the region where the panels are deployed. It calculates the position of the sun throughout the day.
The tracker-controllers use this data and ensure that the inclinometer attached to the solar panels adjusts the position of the Solar Panel for maximum exposure. Maximum Exposure is the secret sauce for optimum efficiency and power output.
Ans. In our IoT enabled solar energy harvesting solution, the Master Controller (IoT Gateway Device) is designed to hold latest data of up to last 7 days before it is overwritten.
Thus, in case there is cloud connectivity or any other failure associated with Master Controller, the latest data of past 7 days is available to ensure business continuity and also allow stand time for issue resolution. Once the connection is re-established, all the stored packets are forwarded to the cloud and deleted from gateway as and when an acknowledgement message is received from the cloud.
Ans. The current system of Solar Panel Trackers uses supply from dedicated power grids. We can also customize the system to work on integrated solar panels for various off-grid operations, to make the system more power efficient.
Ans. Definitely, yes. The local server can be easily hosted on any secure 3rd party cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform as per your requirements.
Ans. The tracker captures data at intervals of 1 sec. The captured data is sent to the Master controller with ‘capture timestamps’. This data is then forward by the Master controllers to the SCADA system for monitoring. Depending on the application requirements, the intervals at which data is captured can be modified.
Ans. In extreme weather conditions such as strong wind or heavy rainfall, the solar panels are brought to a stable, horizontal position called “stow position”.
These panels can be brought to the stow position either manually (through the SCADA interface) or automatically by installing wind sensors in the master controller.
Based on the inputs from the wind sensors, the algorithm running within the Master Controller issues ‘stow position’ command to all the slave trackers
Ans. Our team behind IoT Solar Energy harvesting Solution comprises of:
Experienced hardware and software Engineers with extensive experience in embedded product development, Test and validation Engineers, SCADA solution experts, Cloud Solutions Architects ,Mobile App/Web Developers, UI/HMI Designers.
We also have Subject Matter Experts with extensive experience in the Renewable Energy and Industrial Automation industries.