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New System Allows Wireless Monitoring of Solar Panel Performance

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1Ever since the Ivanpah solar plant went online, not only companies, but entire countries, have been competing and trying to build bigger and better solar power plants.

However, while all of them are thinking how to fund the additional panels and optimize their energy production, not many have considered that all these need constant monitoring, which at that scale, could be quite a challenge. Now, a start-up from Japan, called Nihon Dengyo Kosaku Co Ltd, is offering a system, which enables wireless surveillance of the panels, 24-7.

The company provides monitoring systems for both small and big scale plants. The invention is comprised of two separate systems, which can be adjusted as needed depending on the size of the plant. The first component is the so-called “Mu Sensor”, which records the power generation, and reports any anomalies or abnormalities in the way the plant works. The second one is called FalconWave system, and integrates a number of video cameras and a wireless LAN. The cameras could be placed at various locations, and record videos that can then be transmitted via the wireless LAN free of charge.

If the plant is smaller, the company will provide a system that records the performance of the PV inverters and the voltages of strings that connect the panels. For the bigger plants, the company will supply IP cameras that will allow monitoring via the wireless LAN.

All details in both cases will be sent directly to a mobile device, allowing solar plant managers to respond immediately if needed. I guess such technology could be very useful, especially when the plants are so huge that it is impossible to walk around all panels and check for problems within a working day. Well, of course such technology comes at a price. One stand alone sensor, which comes with its own solar panel, would cost just over $1,600. I wonder how many of the solar giants would make use of it.

Image (c) Nihon Dengyo Kosaku

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