According to ABI Research, growth of the solar and wind industry will increasingly rely on adoption of IoT-based technologies and services.
ABI Research expects IoT connected wind and solar installations to grow at a CAGR of 21% between 2014 and 2020 with the total number of connections growing from the almost 2 million in 2014 to 6.3 million in 2020.
“With the expected decline of government incentives, the industry fears less willingness to invest in solar and wind products and technologies,” comments Eugenio Pasqua, Research Analyst.
“However, IoT-based technologies and services provide the means to optimize the performance of solar and wind power generation systems and reduce production variability, two areas which detractors have historically cited as major shortcomings of renewable energy sources. In our view, the IoT is an important component fuelling the next stage of growth for the solar and wind industry.”
Key IoT-based services for solar and wind power are remote monitoring of energy production and condition monitoring of the equipment, often coupled to cloud-based analytics platforms. In the utility sector these solutions offer a cheaper and simpler alternative or even an additional set of features to more traditional control and monitoring systems like SCADA, and in the solar residential and commercial sectors they will play an important role both for suppliers and customers. Cellular connectivity will also play an important role and is expected to garner the majority share of connections by 2020.
“Given the mix of traditional and modern solutions the market for solar and wind power remote monitoring services remains quite fragmented, with different players holding the leadership sceptre depending on the target sector and the geographical area,” adds Pasqua. Some examples are represented by Mita-Teknik for the monitoring of wind farms and ABB for both solar and wind farms, while in the non-utility sectors it’s worth mentioning Locus Energy and AlsoEnergy among the leaders in North America and Rtone and Solar-Log in Europe.