Dedicated team to build complete solar modules’ monitoring solution for solar power plants

A Germany-based company that is the leader in engineering and manufacturing of photovoltaic (PV) modules and system components and which also operates large-scale solar plants.

Industry

Manufacturing

Model

Dedicated Team

Team size

Under NDA

Tech stack

Electronics design (digital, analog); Sensor technics; Firmware (C, Assembler), Embedded software (Linux, Node.js, C++, PHP, JavaScript)

CHALLENGE

The customer is a Germany-based company that manufactures photovoltaic (PV) modules and system components and operates large-scale solar plants.

Each solar plant is a complex engineering facility, and the monitoring of plant performance is necessary. It could be the most efficient if the measurements were taken at the source of the electrical energy—PV module. Our client decided to create the hardware and software for such measurements and partnered with Brightgrove.

Challenges we’ve faced included:
• Design and engineer the hardware components, such as sensors, string servers, connection boxes, and junctions.
• Automate the Quality Assurance process, using testing and DevOps tools.
• Overcome several restrictions related to the development of sensors for such application:
– The cost of the sensor must be extremely low because it is added to the PV-module cost;
– The cost of the monitoring equipment and installation efforts must be kept low;
– Highest measurement precision should be maintained while working in an outdoor environment.

SOLUTION

After we analyzed the system requirements, problem domains, and our partner’s expertise, we assembled a dedicated team of senior engineers with the required skill sets.  

Our team built a pioneering DC power line communication (PLC) technology that received several patents. We implemented this technology at all stages, from theoretical investigations to principal and hardware scheme through hardware design and programming. 

We created a set of cost-effective hardware for monitoring and data gathering, with: 

  • Original DC power line communication method (patent protected)
  • Cost-optimized hardware and firmware design
  • Planning, management, and execution of hardware maintenance and support operations based on real-time and historical data.

Automation of production QA process allowed us to achieve complete traceability of every device. 

RESULTS

  • Built embedded software that operates on hardware devices and compliments the web-based portal and mobile apps.
  • Reduced the expenses previously spent on the installation and maintenance.
  • Increased the efficiency of the solar plant by 6.5% and the amount of harvested energy by 17.5%, depending on the location and other different factors.
  • Reduced the risks of fire due to constant monitoring of the components’ temperature.
  • Gained more presence on the solar energy market by offering products to a wider range of customers, including plant owners, installers, and manufacturers.

WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW

4 largest solar plants in Europe use the created unique components in their facilities. The customer expanded their product line with the set of unique hardware devices and extended their services, which led to the increase of sales.  

We continue to work together, providing all administrative and office infrastructure services to the dedicated team. 

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