We're piloting the first radically affordable monitoring and remote control platform for solar energy systems of 2kW and above.
Throughout the developing world, thousands of solar energy systems sit in disrepair. Solar has the potential to be the most reliable and affordable source of energy, electrifying places that might never see grid connectivity. But when systems break just 12 or 18 months after installation, they are no longer cost-effective. High failure rates erode local demand for solar, and investors and donors often have no idea whether systems are working, deterring investment in critical energy access projects.
Remote monitoring is critical for providing the transparency and accountability needed to improve performance. But existing developing world solutions are not compatible with the larger systems (2kW and above) needed to power hospitals, schools, businesses and farms. And solutions used in wealthy countries are not appropriate for off-grid, energy access settings.
Energy X has several important features that will make it suitable for large systems in a developing world context.
- Remote monitoring: Energy X tracks energy generation and consumption, and measures key system health indicators such as battery state of charge. If something stops working, we know immediately.
- System protection: Energy X will protect against damage, overuse, and/or theft. For example, engineers can troubleshoot an outage, or shut off the system when needed to protect the battery from damage. This minimizes the need for time-consuming, expensive travel by maintenance technicians.
- Affordable and Flexible: Energy X is low cost, and it can be attached to nearly every solar PV system, regardless of manufacturer.
- Customer Communications: Simple visual displays and alerts will improve customer understanding of how they can better optimize their energy use.
- Low Power Consumption: A monitoring solution shouldn't be the largest load of an off-grid system. Unlike solutions in developed markets, Energy X has low power demands.
- Data transfer through "SMS": The platform transmits relevant data in low bandwidth packets via GPRS or GSM networks, leveraging existing wireless networks.