For anyone who hasn’t heard, alternative energy is huge. From wave to tidal, from solar to micro-hydro, huge money is being invested in order to wean society from more traditional (and, generally, environmentally damaging) ways of generating electricity. One area that has been around for many years, but is seeing huge investment to make it better is Solar generation or, as they say in the trade, Solar Photo Voltaic (PV).

There are many different ways to make Solar PV better. Widespread use of distributed generation is one that is being explored via new technologies (PV paints, for example) and novel uses of existing technologies (PV roofs). Another approach is to go broad and achieve economies of scale through massive Solar PV farms. Both approaches are important and both, at a macro level, require some connecting systems to ensure the greatest levels of efficiency.

Which is where Infiswift comes in. The company is an IoT platform vendor. Essentially it is all about providing the plumbing to connect and manage devices, users, and different cloud-based services. Infiswift provides the development environment and analytics for custom implementations. It also helps, in this example, that it’s been designed to be extremely light weight – making it perfect for either intermittently connected or power deficient environments – perfect for the PV use case.

swiftPV to Modernize Solar PV Performance Management

Infiswift is announcing a PV-specific platform, swiftPV that is aimed at helping PV power plant operators connect a wide variety of diverse PV assets in order to gain insights across their entire portfolio. The approach here is one of modularity – the swiftPV suite of products and services includes “blocks” that can be used to build a solution – each customer selects what’s right for them. The current swiftPV blocks include:

  • Data ingest: This core block is built around the Infiswift IoT platform, which connects all field devices and cloud feeds regardless of vendor. The scalable platform ensures data is properly routed from origination to destination in near real-time.
  • Apps: SwiftPV apps use custom mobile and web visual interfaces for each stakeholder.
  • Cloud Historian: A private database with open data access and flexible setup to cover different data needs.
  • Reports: SwiftPV produces reports with tailored recommendations and data that can be updated and customized for delivery when needed.
  • PV Performance Services: Professional engineering support available to monitor, analyze and interpret complex data.

Infiswift points out that existing communication approaches don’t deliver what modern PV operators need. Says Arup Barat, co-CEO of the company:

Solar owners and operators currently rely on third party monitoring and centralized SCADA systems to provide data on the operation and performance of plants, but these systems very inflexible and limit data access

Extending this theme, Beau Blumberg, the company’s solutions director, points out the challenges that such diverse data sources create:

Connecting several different brands of inverter, a weather forecast feed and grid pricing in one place is a challenge that hasn’t been solved until now. Our IoT architecture makes this approach to performance solutions unique and ensures we’re delivering a truly interoperable infrastructure that will serve OEMs, operators and other stakeholders into the future. SwiftPV can connect any device from any manufacturer and bring in third party data feeds, allowing customers to centralize data for a full PV portfolio.

MyPOV

There is an elephant in the room in the shape of traditional infrastructure companies. These companies and GE is the perennially favorite example, are spending billions of dollars to reinvent themselves for this cloud world. Indeed, GE goes to great pains to articulate its view that it is now a software company. These players have the deep pockets and the existing relationships to leverage this opportunity before companies like Infiswift get to scale.

It certainly is a valid problem area, and Infiswift is doing some interesting things, it will be fascinating to watch their progress.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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