I am just writing about to talk to you about solar photovoltaic (PV) Energy Management software to be deployed in the Pacific. I have recently attended the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland, New Zealand. As you may well know, during that meeting there was a consensus reached by many delegates from the EU, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the World Bank to fund Solar PV deployments. This funding commitment was substantial: $635M USD. The chief focus is the displacement of diesel fuel, which clearly makes a lot of sense economically, but there is more than simply photovoltaic hardware being sought after.
My focus has been a NZ-based open-source software platform called SolarNetwork which was first commenced with a masters thesis at the University of Auckland in 2008. It is a Java-based platform focusing on the acquisition, storage, visualization and analysis of solar energy data. We use a set of enterprise frameworks as components, such as Spring and OSGi, but the core idea is to be able to reliably and affordably capture renewable energy data from a host of inverters, charge controllers, battery computers, industrial switches, and kilowatt-hour meters and persist that data on a web-based server “in the cloud” as well as expose web services for both visualization and control. A robust security model of course is an inherent part of the design, and our team has developed the framework a long way since 2009 and was highlighted by an invitation to the White House in Washington D.C. in October 2012 for the Energy Datapalooza, an open data initiative to encourage conservation in the U.S.. But there's a lot more to do than just that.
We have two main components to this platform, namely Solarnode, the embedded data acquisition app that typically runs on an inexpensive low-power SBCs and SolarNet, the server-side application. Combining these two allows for many flexible energy management applications, many of which are becoming very applicable in the Pacific region. We believe that “zero-export” hybrid solar PV systems along with dynamic demand-response from micro-grid based communities are going to have a significant impact in the Pacific.
SolarNetwork is the framework allows for these applications to be built using “off the shelf” hardware, and so puts the control of energy generation and management into the users’ control. We think that NZ developers could experiment with the software framework in very interesting ways, as there are always good experiments to be done with energy generation, consumption, forecasting, and load control. While there are certainly proprietary frameworks that can accomplish these tasks, the open-source side of the software is very compelling to us and we think has enormous potential in NZ and the Pacific. Everything needed is on Github here licensed under the GPL:
And we have several HTML5 visualizations online here:
if you have any questions about the framework, please let me know.