Solar Panel monitoring
The challenge of this project was to combine some extreme parameters: an autonomous, off the grid system in an isolated location with variable weather that should run continuously.
The idea was to be able to run a small office on this place, and to be sure to get enough power before arriving at the place. The whole project has to fit on a reasonable budget.
This is a great example of a customized solution we build for an unusual application with specific conditions.
Powering the system
We choose to solar power our system with 4x100w panels, a Victron MPPT solar charger, a Smartshunt for consumption monitoring and a Cerbo GX for aggregating all the monitoring data.
All these modules are sending logs to a MQTT broker. We store these data in a time-series database on AWS and display it with a Grafana dashboard; including state of charge, current yield and DC load.
We added a site-to-site VPN to connect all the devices to an OpenVPN cloud instance for emergency access. It could give useful information in case of module failure.
We installed a Raspberry Pi with Docker as Ubiquiti network controller. As the controller is integrated with Unifi cloud, in case of network failure, a notification is sent. Indoor and outdoor AP are managed by the controller.
We also deployed autonomous WiFi camera running on small integrated solar panels to manually check the snow level and the obstruction of the main panels.
Connecting Cerbo GX relay to disable secondary equipment for power saving during foggy weeks.