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Why India needs Grid Interactive Inverters?

Before we get to what grid interactive inverters are, let’s talk about what solar power is. Solar Power, as the name suggests is the conversion of sunlight into electricity.

We’ve used it in solar powered calculators, to begin with, and it is now increasingly becoming a popular substitute for electricity in offices, industrial spaces, and homes too.

As solar alternatives continue to become more popular each day, implementation has been increasing and it’s becoming less expensive than it was a couple of years ago.

To really understand the options available in the solar market and to help us make an informed decision when it comes to making a purchase, here is a brief of the basics..

The Solar Market is broadly categorized into three segments globally

1. Solar Off-Grid

Off Grid Inverters are principally meant to be used with solar power systems (or wind and hydro) for a home or business totally disconnected from the electric utility company.

Solar-Off-Grid

Solar Off-Grid System

They can also be used for providing emergency backup power when the electric company’s power fails.

2. Solar Tie / Grid Tie

A grid-tie inverter is a power inverter that converts direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) with an ability to synchronize to interface with a utility line and provides net metering capability.

Net metering allows a solar power system owner to sell surplus energy back to the utility. This extravagantly reduces or even eliminates your electric bill.

Impressed yet? It gets better..

3. Solar Grid-Feed: Grid Interactive Inverters

Grid-interactive systems are based on their grid-tied and off-grid counterparts.

Like the inverter in grid-tied systems, the grid interactive inverter can convert solar-generated DC power into AC power that is then fed directly to the grid.

Solar Grid-Feed

Solar Grid-Feed

Solar Grid Interactive Inverters

Solar Grid-Interactive

In a grid-interactive system, however, the inverter does a lot more.

1. The inverter keeps the battery fully charged so that it can take over during power outages.

2. When the grid goes down, which is when the inverter kicks in, the grid interactive inverter seamlessly converts DC power into AC power from the fully charged battery while still converting solar generated DC power and using that as well.

You can check out our own highly efficiency Solar-Grid-Tie inverter – ThingsHiFi.

With ThingsHifi, you can use solar energy to generate electricity for your home, office, or any kind of industrial setup. At the same time, you can stay care-free during power cuts because of its build in UPS.

That’s not all – power generated that is not used by you can be sent back. In effect, you can sell this power back to the grid.

How IoT disrupted the Milk Industry

Amul disrupted the Milk industry in 1950’s and caused what we popularly called milk revolution, since then annual milk production and collection has be raising annually over 10%.

Technology made its ways to many sectors, but still milk collection has be archaic and needs a second revolution – IoT in the milk industry.

Milk is collected in various villages across India in collection centers, which in turn is transported from collection centers to Milk Processing units. iot in the milk industry

The most important thing is what happens in the Milk collection center at villages, rather than Milk Processing units, because the quality of the end milk depends on maintaining the quality of the milk at village level.

Many co-operatives now use Milk Chillers at collection centers, in a way that solves the problem, but not quite enough.

The problem with having just chiller is that, the Milk Processing plants will not know a number of important factors related to the process.

How much milk is coming today? What is the temperature of the milk? Quality of the milk, these parameters needs to be monitored constantly to improve the ROI of the milk.

This is where IoT in the milk industry can be a game changer. We installed our IoT devices in few places at Collection centers and delivered a game changing insights, which improved the collection ROI by 25%.

iot in the milk industry

We also found out that Chillers were not being cleaned optimally, which was major cause of quality degradation of the milk at collection points.

What was considered unknown and unmanageable, suddenly became known and predictable.

The milk co-operative was not only able to get an accurate milk collection by 7am in the morning, but also could constantly monitor the milk temperature remotely across their chilling centers.

Power Sector is moving from Energy Monitoring to Energy IoT as consumers becoming producers

Directing the power sector to Energy IoT

When the power plant was brought up in the earlier days it use to be of the size of several 100’s of Megawatts, built in remote location and electricity was transmitted over 100’s of miles to the point of consumption.

Because the installation runs in 100’s of millions of dollars, if not billions power plant operator can manage a team of experts installing and monitoring the system.

These monitoring systems like SCADA can run into half-a million dollar type of cost and man power to manage it. This is still ok if you have large power plant.

power sector to energy iot

With the advent of Solar, individual home-owners can produce power as low as 1KW and sell it to grid or to their neighbors. 

Even small plant like this one cannot have the luxury of sophisticated monitoring system, until IoT comes into picture.  With IoT the entire site operations can be automated.

Once the data goes to cloud in IoT framework, Machine Learning and AI algorithms can make the prediction of energy generation, any problem in the site or managing the maintenance schedule autonomous without any human intervention.

ThingsCloud Becomes Part of NASSCOM COE IOT

It’s been a long journey for we at ThingsCloud, and we are excited to be part of NASSCOM’s COE IoT Lab. The Lab is super awesome with the latest and greatest tools at our disposal to test and qualify our products to world class standards.

The biggest challenge for startups in the hardware space are the availability of sophisticated tools for testing and measurement and these tools are expensive. This greatly affects the product development time significantly.

In this 21st century, access to electricity is a fundamental right and we can leapfrog implementation by directly going solar in India, thus eliminating energy poverty.

IoT lab’s initiative is significant in this area and is a great enabler for startups and it will go long way in building an IoT ecosystem in India.

Allevating Energy Poverty

Solar Energy is helping eliminate Energy Poverty

From only about 30 GW of renewables today, India aims to achieve a capacity of 175 GW by 2022, of which solar is going to account for about 100 GW.

The target by 2030 is 350 GW, of which 250 GW is likely to be solar-based. This translates to Annual Growth of 29% YoY for next 7 Years and 21% growth after that.

Solar and storage together will also act as a tool for lifting 35 crore Indians off-grid —around 50% of India’s rural population — and out of energy poverty.

In this 21st century access to electricity is fundamental right and India should leapfrog implementation by directly going solar in India.

In industrial setups, Machine Learning and AI algorithms can make the prediction of energy generation, any problem in the site or manage the maintenance schedule autonomous without any human intervention.

Households can produce power as low as 1KW and sell it to grid or to their neighbors.

India will reportedly require about $250 billion of investment in the renewable energy sector by 2022 to achieve these Goals.

The big question remains how is India going to achieve this ?

The Only way that is possible is that public-private partnerships that ensures the success of implementation of government programmes without leakage.

Why are Solar Panels so Expensive?

People often ask me “Why are Solar Panels Expensive?” and I thought it is best to explain it here once and for all.

Most people think that a Solar Panel is just Silicon Diodes. So let me explain what a Solar Panel is made up of:

  1. Silicon Diodes
  2. Aluminum Frame
  3. Glass Protective Layer

The Silicon Diodes take up about 50% of the total cost. The rest of the expense is in commodity metals like Aluminum. The prices of these other metals are pretty stable over a period of time.

The Silicon Part of the Solar Panel, of course follows Moore’s law.

Also, the problem lies in the efficiency of the Absorption co-efficients. Most diodes in commercials panels are pretty in-efficient.

This means: Only 18 to 21 % of energy is absorbed and converted to electricity at STC, in the field they absorb abysmal <15%

These factors make per-watt cost of Solar Panel more expensive.

If we just double the panel efficiency, we could use 50% less aluminum, 50% less glass and 50% less silicon for the same wattage.

So instead of ‘Why?’, the real question should be..

How can we make Solar Panel less expensive?

ThingsCloud 2015 Review

Happy 2016 From ThingsCloud Family. 2015 Has been very good for ThingsCloud. Some of the significant achievements are:

1) Got into Top 20 in GMIC

2) Showcased Products in IIMB Bootcamp

3) Became part of IBM Global Entrepreneurship Program

4) Became Part of RevvX Hardware Accelerator

5) Showcased Product at IoTNext Conference

6) Applied for Patents

Looking forward to Big bang 2016.

Paris Climate Summit a Big shot in the arm for Renewable Energy

The Paris Climate Summit was a great success because:

1) It was attended by 195 countries and most of then acknowledged need to control and limit emissions

2) Developed countries openly acknowledged that they had greater roles in causing climate damage

3) Developing countries argument that they need to grow by burning cheaper coal and Developed countries should find solutions for cheaper alternatives found resonance.

So, what did Paris summit achieve

1) Almost all countries, around 180, agreed to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degree C.

2) Developed countries should voluntarily commit $100 Billion to fund Clean Energy projects in poor countries.

3) Almost 180 countries has given their emission target for 2020 and developed countries must adhere to the targets and developing countries are encouraged to

4) There was no penalty for missing the targets, but every party is encouraged to achieve and emission are monitored

Overall it is a win-win for everyone and all countries has pledged to work towards cleaner environment and better earth

Telling the future of energy with data

When Facebook shows you a list of friends you may know, Google letting you know an ETD to be on time for a meeting, and other e-commerce websites giving you recommendations on things to purchase, these are instances where machine learning is carried out on large volumes of data called Big Data.

According to Gartner, the big data market is worth over $250 billion and surely it is here to stay. Businesses of all sizes that deal with various applications have started to adopt these practices.

Companies are now focused on how to store and manage this voluminous data. How should we architect the business’ technology stack to gain value from Big Data in terms of HDFS, complex event processing, NoSQL and machine learning? Store data on prem or cloud?

By means of advanced analytics, and machine learning, companies tap into their insight-rich vein of experience and mine it to automatically discover and generate predictive models to take advantage of all the data they are capturing. Departing from the traditional style of looking into the past for insights, companies can now predict parameters that they want knowledge about.

The value of machine learning is in finding structures that we have never seen before and precisely modelling to assist in decision making.

At​ TTC, we are leveraging these to build intelligent models that can serve our customers recommendations about optimising their usage patterns and first hand information about dynamic pricing for compliant infrastructures. We are developing these models in the energy sector where machine learning is hyper critical