4 Ways Small Off-Grid Power is Transforming Satellite and IoT Markets
Gone are the days of powering mission-critical applications
with cumbersome grid infrastructure, or costly micro-grids.
Satellite Wi-Fi and Internet of Things (IoT) are two of the
fastest-growing markets right now. And as they expand, they need support from low-cost,
reliable power sources. Small off-grid power systems are going to prop up these
markets as they provide necessary advantages over diesel generators and grid
infrastructure for mission-critical applications. Let’s see the ways in which small
Smart Off-Grid power is revolutionizing the satellite Wi-Fi and IoT industries!
What is ‘Small’ Power?
(View the infographic)
First, what do we mean when we say small off-grid power? Well,
when people think about solar power and renewable energy, they typically think of
solar farms and micro-grids which generate significant power to distribute to
various high-power applications. But small power is all about individual
systems which are meticulously designed to power mission-critical applications
right at the point of use.
Why Is It Better?
As discussed in a previous
blog on the race to connect the world, one of the satellite Wi-Fi
industry’s most enduring challenges is the cost of infrastructure. The high
costs of infrastructure, especially the implementation of grid power to remote
locations, renders internet connectivity cost prohibitive. Especially in the
satellite Wi-Fi market, cost-savings REALLY matter, so the demand for low-cost solutions
is immense. Compact, smart off-grid power systems offer innovative technology
and deliver significant cost-savings to overcome the industry’s greatest
Small, smart off-grid power systems can offer remarkable
cost-savings for mission-critical applications as a system powering a Wi-Fi hotspot
in a rural community may only require 5-15W of power. As a result, a point-of-use
system will require small power components, reducing its overall cost. For
example, a small power system will use individual battery cells instead of
large industrial battery packs. As well, ongoing operational costs will be
reduced by the ability to remotely monitor, manage and maintain these small
Small off-grid power systems such as Clear Blue’s Smart
Pico-Grid are designed with predictive analytics, energy forecasting, and
remote battery and system management. Through smart technology, small off-grid power
systems can deliver point-of-use power to mission-critical infrastructure at a
lower upfront cost. Such cost-effective power infrastructure improves the
accessibility of internet connectivity.
2. Easy to install and maintain
Small power systems with compact designs make for easy
installations. Why does this make a difference for Satellite Wi-Fi and IoT
applications? Easy-to-install power solutions are especially crucial to the Wi-Fi
and IoT markets for a few reasons. Firstly, the challenges of rural connectivity
and the inaccessibility of
telecommunications sites means that a simple,
validated installation is important. Also, the ability to then perform
maintenance easily without visiting the site – as is typical with grid
infrastructure – is critical for reducing ongoing costs.
With mission-critical IoT infrastructure, the ability to
validate that the power system is operating as designed is an extremely
important tool. A simple, validated installation and the ability to remotely
maintain the system are essential to delivering reliable power for
Clear Blue’s smart and small off-grid power solution Pico-Grid is designed in a small enclosurewhich
makes for very easy packaging and transportation. Also, with such a compact
design, installations are very simple. They require few people and no prior
power system expertise, as they can simply be mounted on a pole. Moreover,
smart technology allows installers to test the operation of the power system components
prior to leaving the site, solving the installation issues often associated
with off-grid power deployment. Overall, the easy-to-install nature of smart
small power systems makes them much simpler to roll out than cumbersome grid
infrastructure, and thus makes Wi-Fi and mission-critical infrastructure
accessible and scalable. As seen at this installation, Clear Blue’s Smart Pico-Grid solution is much smaller than the traditional off-grid system on the back.
Small solar power systems still pack a punch when
coupled with smart technology. With the addition of smart tech, a small off-grid
power system will not sacrifice efficiency or reliability, providing an edge in
the market over traditional off-grid power. Traditional off-grid power provide oversized
systems to ensure reliability. Battery and energy management tools ensure the
reliability of Smart Off-Grid systems. In addition, with an expert service team
to remotely support the install team and manage the system over the internet, customers
can be sure the off-grid system is operating with the highest reliability and uptime.
For highly mission-critical applications such as Internet of
Things devices, reliability is of the utmost importance. The IoT industry
encompasses a range of applications including devices such as traffic light sensors,
security cameras, and air quality monitors which smart cities rely upon. It is
therefore essential that these applications have reliable power from smart
small off-grid systems, as uptime is critical. The increasingly unreliable grid is not equipped to support the rollout of Satellite Wi-Fi and IoT, and thus small off-grid power is the solution.
Small off-grid power systems also replace the role of diesel
generators and thus meet a growing need for sustainable power infrastructure.
The majority of the world’s telecom infrastructure is powered by diesel or
hybrid-diesel power. According
to GSMA, a single BTS cell tower in Africa will consume roughly 13,000
litres of fuel per year. Using small, off-grid systems to power connectivity
around the world through satellite Wi-Fi completely replaces the need for these
generators. In this way, small power fills the need to connect the unconnected
with sustainable power.
Small, Smart Off-Grid Power Will Be a Driving Force in These
Small off-grid power systems provide amazing advantages over
large off-grid and grid power systems. Small power is low cost, reliable, easy
to install and maintain, and more sustainable than grid power infrastructure. The
advantages of small smart off-grid power will revolutionize these markets and
make Wi-Fi and IoT more accessible. The future of the satellite and IoT markets
is small power.
Infographic: The Power of Small, Smart Off-Grid