Digitization is the primary transformation faced by the energy industry in the last decades. What role will photovoltaic play in this?
The advent of digital transformation in the world of renewable energy is certainly not new. Over the past 20 years, this sector has undergone profound changes, allowing renewable sources to gain more and more stability and reliability, mainly thanks to the introduction of IoT and AI technologies.
The increasing digitization of energy plants raises new challenges in the management and operation of electricity systems. More flexibility measures are required to ensure safe and stable operation, including integrating fast-acting supply and energy storage services.
The integration of IoT devices in the grid breaks down traditional boundaries within the energy sector, opening the doors to a new era of flexibility. In addition, smart demand response, energy systems 4.0, and contamination of different research fields provide unique opportunities to boost the renewable energy transition.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), digitization can maximize the performance of the existing grids offering the possibility to improve the performance of each infrastructure with remarkable money saving:
“Smart demand response could provide 185 GW of system flexibility, roughly equivalent to the currently installed electricity supply capacity of Australia and Italy combined. This could save USD 270 billion of investment in new electricity infrastructure that would have otherwise been needed.”
Solar PV: one of the leading energy source by 2050
The transition to renewables is crucial to support the decarbonization of the entire world’s energy system. Solar is the fastest-growing renewable energy source globally, increasing worldwide capacity by an average of 40 percent every year. As a result, many energy companies are expanding to offer solar, which is among the most energy-efficient and lucrative renewable electricity sources on the market.
IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, estimates that the “cumulative installed capacity of solar PV would rise to 8.519 GW by 2050 becoming the second prominent source (after wind) by 2050”.
Alongside wind energy, solar PV would lead the way in transforming the global electricity sector. Still, this remarkable milestone will be achievable only by implementing new technologies capable of ensuring more flexibility and stability to photovoltaic systems.
How to make your photovoltaic system smart
A smart PV system can count on important benefits: reliability, security, efficiency and advanced electricity storage. In addition, digitization makes the solar energy supply more efficient and flexible, maximizing the performance thanks to a quick and precise data collection system. There are three main technologies that are helping to make photovoltaic systems increasingly connected:
- Internet of Things (IoT) and big data
An IoT device connected to a cloud network can collect and aggregate data from all the devices in the PV plant, performing data completeness and data quality validation directly on the field. IoT in solar energy can help to monitor all the assets from one central control panel, identifying issues and malfunctioning in real-time.
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
Optimizing, analyzing, and monitoring. Artificial Intelligence platforms provide better prediction, demand forecasting, and asset management. Supported by other emerging technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT), big data, and sensors, AI can maximize the performance of the asset, creating ad-hoc KPIs, reports, and workflows.
Blockchain contributes to making the supply of green energy more secure and efficient. This innovative technology provides peer-to-peer transaction platforms that use decentralized storage to record all transaction data, making transactions between operators traceable, secure, and quick.
If you are looking for an IoT solution to improve the performance of your photovoltaic system, WiSNAM offers a wide range of customizable solutions for the monitoring and control of the assets.
Find out more about the Geko4 data logger and Power Plant Controller and lead your PV system into a new era of digital innovation.
- International Energy Agency (IEA). 2017. Digitalization and Energy. Accessed 17 June 2021.
- International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). 2019. Future of solar photovoltaic. Accessed 17 June 2021.