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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Internet of Things will Empower the Energy Industry

Network connectivity and wireless communication technologies are essential for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions -- they provide the basic infrastructure for connected assets, such as sensor modules.

Most vertical markets are dependent on innovation in device and communication technologies to lower long-term enablement costs -- to enhance services, and to offer new services. In particular, the generation and distribution of electrical power is a market that's already primed for change.

A case in point: growth of the solar and wind energy industry will increasingly rely on IoT-based technologies and services, according to the latest global market study by ABI Research.

They forecast that IoT connected wind and solar installations will grow at a CAGR of 21 percent 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," said Eugenio Pasqua, research analyst at ABI Research.

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.

Market Development of Smart Power Solutions

ABI Research believes that IoT is an important component fueling the next stage of growth for the solar and wind energy 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 big data analytics platforms.

In the utility sector these solutions offer a cheaper and simpler alternative to more traditional control and monitoring systems such as SCADA, and in the solar residential and commercial sectors they will play an important role both for suppliers and end-customers.

Cellular wireless network connectivity will also play an important role and is expected to garner the majority share of M2M 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.