In today’s rapidly advancing world of technology, development in one field boosts another. Exactly in the same way, advancement in the Information Technology field has enormously eased the monitoring challenges in the field of Solar Energy. Read on…

Renewable energy has started playing an increasingly important role for augmentation of grid power, providing energy access, reducing consumption of fossil fuels and helping India pursue its low carbon development path. Ahead of COP 21, India submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC, outlining the country’s post-2020 climate actions. India’s INDC builds on its goal of installing 175 Giga Watts (GW) of renewable power capacity by 2022. India has set a target to increase the country’s share of non-fossil-based installed electric capacity to 40% by 2030. The INDC also commits to reduce India’s GHG emissions intensity per unit GDP by 33 to 35% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide through additional tree cover.

Solar energy has become one of the major clean energy sources around the world in the recent years. Launched in January 2010, the National Solar Mission (NSM) was the first mission to be operationalized under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). Using a three-phase approach, the mission’s objective is to establish India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for solar technology diffusion across the country as quickly as possible. The initial target of the mission of installing 20 GW grid-connected solar power plants by the year 2022 was enhanced to 100 GW to be achieved by the same target year. The Solar energy scenario in India and the world has been shown in the figures below.

Figure 1. Comparison of Solar power generation capacities installed in different countries in the world…
Source: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Figure 2. Solar power generation capacity installed in India…
Source: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Figure 3. Solar power generation costs in India…
Source: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Figure 4. Comparison of Solar power generation costs in the world…
Source: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Figure 5. Renewable energy employment status in India…
Source: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Renewable energy sources play a vital role in the energy sector due to depletion of fossil fuel in the world, to fulfil ever increased demand of consumers and need for more reliable and low-cost energy supply. There is a need for PV storage as part of the modern grid-connected system. On the other hand, the potential benefits of including renewable energy sources in a grid are often difficult to realize due to their intermittent and highly unpredictable nature, the challenge in demand side energy management lays focus on the efficient utilization of renewable sources without limiting the power consumption. To deal with the above issue, it seeks for design and development of an intelligent system with day-ahead planning and accurate forecasting of energy availability.

In this work, an Intelligent Smart Energy Management Systems (ISEMS) is proposed to handle energy demand in a smart grid environment with deep penetration of renewable. Intelligent Smart Energy Management Systems (ISEMS) architecture is for demand-side energy management considering Renewable source. ISEMS has three stages, which are PV generation and data collection, smart energy management system based on prediction and IoT environment for the user to access the energy details and management.

Design of IoT based Smart Solar Energy Monitoring System

The monitoring systems mainly include manual investigation and remote wired monitoring. These methods have some disadvantages such as time-consuming and wiring complexity. The emerging technique of communication technology called Internet of Things (IoT) offers a new solution to overcome these problems. The IoT is the network of physical objects embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity. It allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across the existing network infrastructure resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic welfare.

The IoT is reported to enable quick and easy interactions with everyday objects like personal computer, smart-phones, sensors and actuators through the Internet with the help of devices like microcontrollers, transceivers and information and network protocols. Hence, the communication network with IoT can provide a better monitoring and controlling of a PV system in a remote and large field compared to human inspection.

Working of PV monitoring system using IoT

The system described in this article is capable of measuring the values of voltage, current and temperature of the solar PV panel – and also the intensity of the sunlight received by the panel. All the data were recorded by a microcontroller Arduino ATMega2560 and uploaded to the Internet by a wireless transceiver NodeMCU ESP8266. An open source of IoT cloud platform namely Thinkspeak is used to store all the data from the sensor and visualize it in the graphical representation, so the user can monitor the data remotely as long as the Internet connection is available. The monitoring can be done via Thinkspeak website and also via Smartphone application that were designed using MIT App Inventor. The block diagram of the system is shown in figure 6.

Figure 6. IOT based PV monitoring system…

An open source of IoT cloud platform application namely Thinkspeak has been used in this study. This application can retrieve and store the data from the sensor through Internet that uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The data from the sensor was uploaded from the Arduino board connected to a WiFi module to the cloud. It updates all the data logs received from the sensors and giving the status application to the users.

To use these features, the user needs to create an account or specific IP address, which contains different channels for monitoring the different parameters in the system. The flowchart diagram of the data gateway system is shown in figure 7.

Figure 7. Flowchart of PV monitoring system using IoT…

This platform enables the user to visualize the data in graphical representation. With Internet-based monitoring, the data would be easily accessible through an online interface (via computer or smartphone). The major advantage of this system is that the solar PV panel output information can be easily monitored anywhere with an available Internet connection. Table 1 shows the various applications of IoT use in PV systems.









An implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) in the monitoring of solar PV system consists of data acquisition, data gateway and Smartphone application display was proposed. The data acquisition was successfully collecting the data with accuracy. The data gateway was able to send the graphical representation of the data to the Smartphone application with a mean transmission time of a few seconds. The results demonstrate that the proposed monitoring system can be a promising solution for intelligent remote and real-time monitoring of a solar PV system.




Challa Krishna Rao is an Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering in Aditya Institute of Technology and Management, Tekkali, Andhra Pradesh, India.




Dr. Sarat Kumar Sahoo
is a Professor/HOD at the Department of Electrical Engineering, in Parala Maharaja Engineering College, Berhampur, Odisha, India.

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