Renewable energy has the potential to slow climate change, reduce air pollution and provide a secure energy supply for the future. However, building and operating wind, solar and hydro power sites does not come without its challenges.
From identifying a suitable site through to construction and ongoing monitoring, internet connectivity is an essential consideration. Renewable energy sites are often based in remote areas which are difficult to access. This means that traditional connectivity methods, such as fixed lines, are not usually in place. In these remote areas, fixed lines can be expensive to install and have long lead times which makes them unfeasible.
The solution is 4G data connectivity, which provides a simple solution to the internet connectivity challenges faced. The following five scenarios demonstrate how 4G internet can be used to solve connectivity challenges at each stage of a renewable energy project.
1. Site Assessment
Before a renewable energy site can be constructed and begin operating, there are numerous planning considerations to account for. This planning process includes assessing a potential site for its suitability. A site assessment ensures that the environmental conditions are adequate and that the site will provide sufficient energy return.
As sites are often located in remote areas with no existing internet connectivity infrastructure, collecting this data can be a challenge. Using 4G connectivity provides a simple and effective solution. The site data collected can be relayed remotely via a 4G internet signal, allowing site conditions to be monitored without needing to be physically on site.
Once a site’s suitability has been established, funding secured and planning approved, construction can commence. Construction workers will require internet connectivity on-site so that they can access communications, cloud-based applications and VPN for the duration of the build.
At the remote sites where wind, solar and hydro power is typically generated, there is normally no existing internet infrastructure. Traditional fixed line connectivity can take months to install and installation can be expensive. Alternatively, a 4G router and SIM can provide instant internet access to construction site workers for the duration of the build.
3. Remote Monitoring
When in operation, constant monitoring is essential for the effective management of wind, solar and hydro power sites. Data needs to be collected for predictive maintenance, to ensure optimal efficiency and to record energy production levels. CCTV is also often used to monitor wildlife and to deter theft and vandalism.
Due to the remote location of some renewable energy sites, it is generally not practical to have an engineer on site at all times. Therefore, remote monitoring is often utilised, with some remote monitoring systems also providing remote control. Using 4G connectivity is an effective way to transmit data from the monitoring devices and CCTV cameras back to an online portal. This means that renewable energy sites can be monitored and managed off-site from a more easily accessible location.
4. On-site Communications
While remote monitoring enables the remote management of renewable energy sites, there are occasions when engineers will need to visit sites to conduct inspections and to carry out maintenance. While on site, they’ll need access to Wi-Fi and communications.
The same 4G connectivity that is used to relay remote monitoring data can also be used to provide an internet connection and access to communications on site. Alternatively, engineers can be provided with a SIM to insert into a dongle or other 4G device which provides internet connectivity that travels with them.
5. Smart Meters
At the other end to energy production is energy usage. As part of a national upgrade, smart meters are being installed across Britain. A smart meter enables consumers to view their power usage in real time. It also sends meter readings directly to the energy supplier to enable more accurate billing. 4G connectivity can be used in smart meters as a simple way to relay meter readings back to suppliers.
How Comms365 Can Help
Comms365 are experts in 4G connectivity, providing 4G solutions to a number of renewable energy producers, suppliers and for community projects.
Contact our Sales Team on 01234 865880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the various stages of your renewable energy project and how we can help you.