Cut the Cord and Go Cellular
Cellular does require a higher upfront cost for the modems and devices necessary to transmit your solar data. But its ability to operate without miles of cable or Wi-Fi routers reduces IoT infrastructure costs and speeds up shipment to markets and installation times.
For example, solar panel manufacturers that use Wi-Fi or Ethernet as their preferred method of connectivity would have to install an entire network in their factory just to test their devices. Since cellular IoT doesnt use wires or external network boxes, its easier for a solar device manufacturer to test their system. All they need to do is provision their subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, then make sure that their devices are transmitting the correct data, and that the data is being recorded properly on their database.
Once tested, cellular ready solar inverters save even more time and money during the installation process. Solar device installers are experts in the product theyre installing, not experts in wiring Ethernet connections or configuring Wi-Fi routers. Cellular-ready solar inverters therefore save installers time and prevents them from having to focus on tasks outside of their field.
Solar panel installers simply install the inverter and switch the SIM card into a billable state through a SIM card management platform accessible from a tablet or mobile device, or by directly calling the cellular network provider. In addition, cellular enabled solar panels not only save time and money by shortening installation times, but also save time and money by enabling technicians to fix problems remotely.
See Problems Before They Start
Most cellular IoT providers have device and SIM card management software built into their subscription platforms. These self-service tools let solar energy providers change SIM card states so they can set real time alerts to prevent data overuse. They also provide immediate insight into malfunctions and customer-facing problems. Solar energy providers can set minimum and maximum data alert thresholds to be alerted as soon as their devices are overusing data or are not transmitting data properly.
For example, if a solar energy provider knows their inverters should be sending at least 150kb of data per day at a minimum, they can set alerts for devices that fall below that threshold. If after some analysis they find out the device isnt sending the data it needs to be sending, they can deduce that the problem has to do with their device connecting to the network. Much in the same way you restart a Wi-Fi router when your signal is lost, cellular SIM cards can be remotely restarted, allowing solar energy providers to diagnose and fix problems before they affect their customers. No need to send out a tech via a truck roll either since they can fix the problem remotely in real time. Even if a problem occurs that does require a technician to fix, alerting thecustomer before they become aware of the problem themselves is a proactive step that increases customer satisfaction and confidence in your company. No matter how you use it, the knowledge provided by cellular IoT networks is power.