An increasing number of commercial and industrial businesses are turning to solar as a means of reducing electricity costs. Solar power needs are as diverse as they industries they serve, and renewable energy providers can find themselves installing panels in remote locations where power and electricity are lacking.
Battery banks are one of the most complicated and costly components of a renewable energy system installation. Connected with parallel wiring, multiple batteries work together as one large battery to operate at a required voltage and amperage.
Most companies use flooded lead-acid batteries over AGM and gel batteries which are more expensive. Even though wet batteries have higher maintenance needs, their history of proven performance and industry acceptability creates a favorable benefit cost ratio (BCR).
The proper care and maintenance of solar battery systems are essential for maximum energy storage. While keeping up with regular yearly maintenance for private residential use can be a relatively simple process, large renewable energy solutions providers have hundreds of installations that need to be monitored.
As part of the maintenance package for customers, solar solutions providers send out drivers on a regular basis to service the large battery systems needed to power the installations.
To prevent failure and preserve the life of wet cell batteries requires the periodic addition of fluid to maintain optimal levels. A dry cell can ruin a very expensive battery and the challenge is optimizing service schedules to prevent cells from drying out but also avoiding unnecessary labor from dispatching service checks prematurely.
By utilizing Internet of Things (IoT) technology, companies can create a system for automated remote service verification.
Using a small device attached a sensor, fluid levels can be monitored from any web enabled phone, computer or tablet via a dedicated IoT platform from companies like GeoTraq. Each device attached to a battery can be programmed to check fluid levels at timed-intervals in addition to sending specific alerts should fluid levels drop below a predetermined threshold.
Through use of remote monitoring, solar solutions providers can gain up to a three- fold benefit in saving on labor costs, extending the life-cycle of inventory and providing exceptional service to their customers.