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The art of extracting more from the sun

The art of extracting more from the sun


Solar energy has become an important source of renewable energy and a rapidly growing industry. The country’s solar grid has a cumulative capacity of 9.01GW and is aiming to produce 100 GW of solar energy including 40 GW’s directly from rooftop solar by 2022. In conventional solar installations, panels are connected in a series to an inverter. A drop-in output of a single panel reduces the output of 20 or more connected panels. Losses from such ‘mismatched’ panels can reduce lifetime energy generation by 20 per cent or even more.

Here is the solution.

According to experts, losses from such ‘mismatched’ panels can be reduced through improved technology. And that’s what igrenEnergi has worked on since being founded in 2013. It has developed an ‘8 Panel Solar Optimizer’ to address the problem using internet of things (IoT) enabled technology and sending module-wise data to a cloud-based analytics engine. According to the company, the Optimizer addresses the problem at its root, can recover around 80 per cent of the energy lost by the system and can be used for all solar installations, specifically for rooftop ones.

The technology

To develop the product, igrenEnergi has used a combination of technologies. Its software enabled energy packetization technology converts incoming energy into small ‘packets’ and then uses software algorithms to process and re-combine the packets into the output required. This has the ability to accept varied power sources and provide output to drive varied loads. It also enables cost efficiency as well as a far greater control over the process. The second are 2-way IoT communication and Proprietary Algorithms. The Optimizer is designed as a 2-way IoT device, which can sense, receive and send data to and from different sources. This enables the igrenEnergi Analytics and Monitoring platform with granular module level data — a unique feature not available on any other platform. The platform enables visualisation of project performance, diagnostics for any field problems and control over generation.The company says that it helps in increasing the solar generation and hence improves the ROI for solar projects. “In India, where cost is a major constraint, Optimizers enable higher penetration of solar by making it more affordable,” says Jiten Apte, CEO, igrenEnergi .

Solar output is sharply reduced by shadow due to small and crowded rooftops. “By using Optimizers, shading losses can be minimised and in addition more rooftop area can be utilised for generating solar power,” explains the CEO.It also protects the energy generation from unforeseen problems such as module failures, cables, connectors as well as sub component and electrical item failures. And though the price of the product is not fixed as such, it is slated to typically cost 5 per cent of the project cost. The company is gaining its momentum in India. “We have acquired several large and small customers including Tata Power DDL, Delhi DISCOM,” says Apte, adding that the company has customers in the US and Japan as well. “The international interest in our products from advanced countries is proof of the technology and product quality,” he says with confidence.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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