Era of smart solar systems is finally here

Solar Power

An employee connects solar cells at the Vikram Solar manufacturing plant in Oragadam, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on October 13, 2021. The smart solar PV system has a holistic approach to energy digitalisation.

Photo credit: Arun Sankar| AFP

In my salad days, in the suburbs of Huruma estate in Nairobi, our childhoods were intertwined.

We played games such as shake, bladder, kati, brikicho, kalongolongo and made swings from rope and tyres on trees. We were inventive and needed no CBC to make us creative. Now I feel vindicated by my childhood experience as I take my son, Mathias, through a curriculum that was second nature to me and my age mates.

Taking my son through CBC is the only time I can wear a superhero cape. When it comes to matters digital, it is second nature to generation Z. How the lad manipulates the television and connects it to his Playstation is Greek to me.

So I concur with the comedian, Smart Joker signature tune, ‘tumetoka analogue tuko digital’.

Our energy systems are still mostly analogue. We have a grid that loses approximately 16 per cent of generated power due to ageing transmission and distribution networks.

Solar PV sector of the renewable energy industry is turning to smart solar PV generation such as Smart PV optimiser, which increases energy yields by up to 30 per cent while also monitoring the solar modules.

There is a shift towards smart solar PV installation, which is being led by Huawei Smart PV solution that provides new generation string inverters with smart management technology to create fully digitalised solar PV systems.

5G networks 

I was privileged to attend Huawei Thousand Digital Power Talents Programme which aims to up-skill more than 1,000 solar practitioners across Sub-Saharan Africa. It is clear that Huawei seeks to leverage its 5G networks system to achieve the ultimate objective of having interconnected, intuitive and intelligent solar PV systems that will ensure the least levelised cost of energy (LCOE) inevitably making solar PV systems the ‘to-go-to’ power solutions for residential, industrial and commercial and mini-grids.

Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) is a figure used to measure the average cost of generating one-kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity over the lifetime of a generating asset. It is this simplified cost that is used to determine ‘value for money’ decision when comparing different energy sources, Smart PV systems will considerably enhance the efficiency of solar panels and further, bring down the already low LCOE of solar energy compared with alternate energy sources.

At the household level, you want a system that is intelligent. You don’t need to have technicians always checking on your system to give it a clean bill of health. With Smart solar PV, we are already seeing homes that leverage big data analysis and cloud computing, enabling intelligent home monitoring.

The smart solar PV system has a holistic approach to energy digitalisation. At the touch of an app, you can now remotely switch off your water pump when at work or switch on the security lights. It further provides you with real-time analysis of the performance of your system.

Rose Hassan is the business development manager, Solarnow (K) Ltd. [email protected]