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Solar monitoring system builds on Linux-based LoRaWAN gateway

Sep 13, 2021 — by Eric Brown 961 views

Cloud Energy and Semtech announced a LoRaWAN equipped rooftop solar monitoring system based on a Linux-based Kerlink Wirnet gateway and Semtech’s LoRaWan modules.

Vietnam based IoT integrator Cloud Energy has joined with Semtech Corp. in announcing a wireless monitoring system for rooftop solar facilities in Vietnam. The unnamed system combines Semtech LoRaWAN modules with software and integration from Cloud Energy, which is deploying a Linux-powered Wirnet LoRaWAN gateway from hardware partner Kerlink.

Wireless solar panel monitoring systems using LoRaWAN are growing in popularity compared to wired monitoring. This is especially true in “rural areas of Vietnam where rodent damage to cabling is a particular issue,” according to the EENews Embedded report that alerted us to the news.



Kerlink Wirnet iStation, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Cloud Energy’s solution comprises multiple Semtech-based wireless Cloud Energy modules, a Kerlink gateway using LoRaWAN, and a web-based Cloud Energy app to monitor real-time data. The application can review and forecast performance independently across meters, inverters, and sensors. The system is claimed to provide 30 percent lower energy costs compared to a traditional wired system, although it’s unclear how much of that depends on LoRaWAN versus software features.

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Cloud Energy does not say which of the two Kerlink WirNet gateways was used, but it is likely the Wirnet iStation, a Kerlink LoRaWAN gateway for outdoor deployments. Kerlink also sells an indoor-only Wirnet iFemtoCell-evolution LoRaWAN gateway. Both products, which are resold by Cloud Energy, have similar hardware and software.

The Wirnet iStation runs Kerlink’s KerOS distro, based on Yocto 2.4 and Linux kernel 4.14 LTS, on an unnamed Cortex-A9 SoC. The KerOS stack includes SQlite, Connman/Ofono, NTPd, and lighttpd, and supports Python2, C/C++, and Shell. The Cloud Energy stack on top of that offers a dynamic web interface, including toolchain, libraries, and header files for compilation of homemade applications or extra packages additions.

Cloud Energy offers an option for Kerlink’s Wanesy Small Private Network platform, an entry level platform for managing up to 20 LoRaWAN gateways with backhaul management. The system is likely compatible with the more advanced Wanesy Management Center software-as-a-service for remote monitoring.

The Wirnet iStation is equipped with 256MB RAM and 8GB eMMC, 6GB of which is available to the user. In addition to the LoRaWAN module, the system has a 4G module with 3G/2G fallback plus an Ethernet port with PoE support to power the device.

The Wirnet iStation provides integrated LoraWAN, 4G, and GPS antennas. LoRaWAN features include 125 kHz 8-channel RX plus single 260Khz/500kHz RX and RX FSK channels for 10 channels overall. Other features include -141 dBm sensitivity, 5dBm to 27dBm TX power, and Sniffer for LBT (Listen Before Talk).

The IP67 protected, 265 x 165 x 100mm system weighs 1.4 Kg, including mounting components, and has a -40 to 60°C operating range. You also get backup batteries and optional surge protection for RF.

The specific Semtech LoRaWAN module used on the gateway was not listed. Most of the LoRaWAN gateways we have seen use Semtech modules. These include Seeed’s WM1302 Raspberry Pi HAT, which offers a Semtech SX1302 with 125kHz LoRa reception with up to -139 dBm sensitivity.

 
Further information

More information on the Cloud Energy solar monitoring system may be found in Cloud Energy’s announcement.

 

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