Placed on – 14 March 2023

IoT to Optimize Returns in Solar: Using Surplus Energy On-Site (Use Case #2)

One of the most promising use cases of IoT in solar power installations is the ability to use surplus energy on-site.
Using Energy On-Site

As more businesses install rooftop solar and more renewable energy farms come online, more companies are looking into solutions that expand the energy management capabilities of traditional solar power systems.  

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become an essential tool in expanding the energy management capabilities of solar power installations, effectively turning them into smart solar installations. With IoT-enabled installations businesses can, for example:  

  • Monitor all devices in the solar installation —regardless of their brand— with a single IoT Platform and form one Dashboard.  
  • Monitor other energy intensive assets in the facility such as pumps, motors or industrial fridges with the same IoT Platform and Dashboard.  
  • Make the most out of their surplus energy by operating other equipment instead of giving energy away.  
  • Automatically determining the best time to charge/discharge their batteries based on daily data.  

In a previous article we discussed the 1st use case EVALAN envisions, namely: monitoring an entire solar installation at once, as well as other devices in the facility with a single IoT Platform. Today’s article brings us to the second use case:

Use case 2. Utilizing Surplus Energy and Saving Money 

This use case is perfect for a business looking to make the most out of their surplus energy by operating other equipment instead of exporting it to the grid at a low price or with no compensation at all. 

With the increased popularity of renewable energy, curtailment is becoming a critical issue to address in the design and operation of energy systems. Curtailment is an energy management practice that refers to the situation where energy infeed to the electricity grid is reduced or stopped. When this happens, renewable energy is effectively lost. 

Selling Solar Energy Back to the Grid can be stopped for two reasons: 

  • Economic, such as no or low compensation. 
  • Grid-capacity, including getting penalized for discharging to the grid. 

Using Energy On-Site 

For solar systems without batteries, a way to avoid conferring surplus energy for free or getting penalized for discharging it to the grid is to use spare energy at once in secondary activities such as making pumps run faster, charging EVs or lowering cooling setpoints so that energy is used within the facility.  

“With EVALAN’s IoT solution, you can use the surplus energy from your solar installation to run different devices in your facility by redirecting and transforming surplus energy to power specific devices” shares Emre Toparlar, Senior Product Manager at EVALAN.

The technology you need: BACE IoT 

BACE Plus is best suited to connect your assets. This BACE module connects straight to your device via one of the several built-in protocols and creates reliable bi-directional communication between your device and the cloud application. The collected information from each device is provided to you as an API or Webhook to any application or database you want in a neat and consistent way so that it can be used however it is necessary to cater to different stakeholders.  

“EVALAN is expert in the management and monitoring of solar energy systems with BACE, Build A Connection Everywhere, an IoT solution consisting of a gateway, a cloud PaaS and a user-friendly dashboard” states Emre. 

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