Fueling Energy | IoT – Data Fetching

When we talk about IoT, the first tasks that come along are sensing and data fetching. You can read about all the involved steps for IoT implementation in our previous blog (http://www.ushva.com/blog/2018/08/22/enabling-energy-with-iot/). Data sensing has been there for quite some time as that is also used for on-site monitoring and alarming as well as automation. There are standard sensor fittings & solutions available when we talk about the sensing task. But when it comes to data fetching and transmitting, a lot must be thought upon as there are no standard solutions/products available in the market.

The market is flooded with highly affordable Chinese devices which seem attractive in the first go. Then there are expensive devices by DELL, Microsoft and software-based solutions which require the installation of a computer (PC) on-site.
Two broad types: a) Embedded Device       b) Driver based data fetching on a PC

Choosing from the vast list of devices, it is immensely important for the implementer to choose the right set of devices/solutions for an optimal implementation.

Following factors must be considered while finalizing a fix for data fetching and transmitting:

·       Type of data logging on-site (sensors, PLCs, utility meters, actuators, etc.)

·       On-device connector requirement based on local data logging

·       Type of data to be fetched (binary, integer, float, etc.)

·       Local machine to device communication protocol (MODBUS, ETHERNET IP, PROFIBUS, etc.)

·       Amount of data points (tags) to be fetched at a given instant

·       Edge processing (on-site processing) requirement

·       Local data storage

·       Device to Server communication (Wi-Fi, GSM, LoRaWAN, etc.)

·       On-site environment and space constraints


Keeping in mind all the above factors, the data fetching method must be finalized along with the considerations for the future implications. Startups are comings up with new edge devices which might suit some very specific requirements as well as be affordable for the buyers/implementers. As a word of caution, one should always focus on the overall picture rather than just the initial cost.


P.S.: In the next blog, we will share information about the specific data fetching options for the users to be fairly aware. Stay tuned!

Enabling Energy with IoT

Energy combined with IoT can achieve wonders in terms of increased savings & enhanced performance. You can refer to our previous blog (http://www.ushva.com/blog/2018/08/13/love-is-on-the-cloud-energy-iot/) to know more about the effects of integrating Energy & IoT. Now we need to understand the enablement method for the marriage of Energy – IoT. It can be divided into 6 specific actions:

1) Sensing

2) Data Fetching

3) Data Transmission

4) Database Management (Online / Offline)5) Data Analysis

6) Actionable Insights

We shall briefly walk through all the mentioned actions. Sensing is the part where various energy parameters such as voltage, current, power factor, etc. are measured. This can be done using tools such as energy meters, specific sensors, sensors connected via PLCs, etc.

The 2nd step is to fetch the relevant parameters from the devices. This can conventionally be done using data loggers. Post data logging, in the 3rd action the data is sent to the online/offline database server using one or more of the communication protocols such as Wi-Fi, GSM, LoRaWAN, NBIoT, LAN connection, etc. IoT Gateways are typically used for this action.

Actions 2 & 3 can be carried out using a single device (IoT Edge Device) which shall be a combination of both data logger and data transmitter. Such devices can be of plug & play format to make the life of solution implementers easy than the usual hassle of doing the intensive configuration of the data loggers and gateways.

In the 4th action, data gets stacked in an organized manner on a cloud server or an on-site server. We can use a lot of available cloud services such as IBM, Amazon Web Services, Alibaba Cloud Services. These cloud service providers have extensive service offering. They also offer the services required in the 5th and 6th action wherein you can use preconfigured tools for analytics along with their big data analytics and machine learning services. Some people prefer to use their own analytics and machine learning algorithms tailor-made for their specific applications. The analysis is used to identify the actions to be taken to improvise the energy performance and increase the savings. The whole idea of implementing IoT is to improvise the scenario and that can only be done by taking appropriate actions based on the analysis of the data we collect.

“Something that cannot be measured cannot be improved.”

The above steps are the most generic actions that are required for a successful marriage of Energy & IoT.

P.S.: The next blog shall put forward some of the available & upcoming tools to integrate Energy & IoT. Stay tuned!

Love is on the Cloud – ENERGY & IoT

Let me introduce you to ‘Energy’. Energy is the most basic necessity of life. It is strongly associated with the development of mankind. This makes it the most precious amenity for life and yet it goes unaccounted for. We tend to keep a detailed check on how much data we use, what we shop, what we eat blah blah blah but then when it comes to energy, it simply gets ignored till the extent that people don’t want to know the details beyond the bill that has to be paid. Don’t you think that ‘ENERGY’ requires slightly more attention, maybe if you could show some interest in understanding about how exactly the energy has been used at your end!

Let us talk about ‘IoT’. Its the buzzword around. Internet of Things (IoT) can be simply understood as getting all the details of your working machine, energy usage, location, etc. online in real-time. IoT enables us in collecting meaningful data in real-time which can be used for further analytics and for getting actionable insights to further improvise our condition via increased efficiency, better savings, reduced down-times, being self-aware.

When Energy meets IoT, the magic happens. All of a sudden, real-time energy monitoring and analysis becomes easy to implement. This enables us to understand our energy usage patterns and makes us aware about the wastage that is happening because of the way we are consuming energy. We can also deep dive into the specifics of where and how are we using energy at our homes & work places. Energy combined with IoT makes it easy for energy auditors to collect and analyze energy data as well as it gives all the end users an opportunity to monitor and improvise their way of energy consumption for better savings and a greener tomorrow.

Let us foster the love story – ENERGY & IoT. This will be our step towards implementing the concept of smart energy and eventually lead ourselves towards a smarter and better tomorrow.

P.S. – My next article shall cover the way of implementing IoT in Energy.

Solar PV Customer Financing

It is well known that one of the factors for low and slow adoption of solar PV solution at households and SMEs is the upfront investment required from the customer’s end. If these customers could be helped with the financing, it can really change the adoption rate.

Typical customer financing would be of the form that the financer pays the solution implementer for the project upfront on behalf of the customer, the implementer delivers the solution to the customer and the customer pays back the financer in multiple installments. This will ease out the payment load on the customer, it will be a good investment with handsome returns for the financer and it will definitely be easily customer acquisition for the implementer.

This financing mechanism, if implemented at the household and SME level can do wonders to the solar PV users and the industry. These mechanism has started seeing light at the SME level but is still facing quite a lot of difficulties at the household level because of the weak legal structure in India which might very well be needed in case of unwanted defaults by the customers or in case of non-worthy solar PV system implementations which might put the lenders at risk.

Reality Check: Solar PV Subsidy

The distribution of solar PV subsidy has started the adoption of solar PV solutions at the household level on a good note. The claimed benefits of solar PV along with the added incentives of central and state government subsidies has made the overall solution quite attractive for every household. MNRE has fixed the price at INR 69,000 / kW. Central government gives 30% subsidy on the mentioned price. A couple of state governments have also added state specific subsidies on top of the central government subsidy.

All this well said and done, there are a couple of things that the end users must understand and take care of.

1 kW or 5 kW, there are some tasks that the installer has to do irrespective of the size of the installation which leads to some fixed costs to the installers for installations of all sizes. This might possibly mean that for smaller sizes, the installer might use comparatively low quality components out of compulsion. The end user can always choose to pay slightly extra to get better components which will give much better results. This will be fair for both the end users and the installers.

Most of the end users are unaware about the correctness of components to be used in a solar PV system. They are more interested in the subsidy being offered rather than considering the possibility of paying slightly extra for getting better components which might be a much better investment option financially as the output will be better and long lasting.

Taking help of consultants in such scenario of confusion might not be a bad option. The consultant might act as a bridge between the understanding of the end user and the sales efforts of the installers. In layman terms, it is better to invest INR 5,00,000 with payback period of 3.5 years instead of investing INR 4,00,000 with payback period of 6 years.

The solar PV has a long way to go. Let’s take this forward on a positive note with imparting proper knowledge and implementing it with much needed transparency.

Way-to-go for Solar PV

There is a lot of interest being shown by individuals towards solar PV usage at their private properties, but the interest to actual implementation conversion rate is tremendously low as the current solution is not attractive at its face value. The solar PV solutions need to be bundled up with certain other features which might make the overall solution more convenient and attractive.

For example, solar PV can be bundled up with home automation which might all of a sudden add significant value in the overall solution as there is lots of functionality and convenience in the overall solution where the facility is being independent in terms of energy requirement along with added energy savings because of the control of energy consumption at the equipment’s’ end via home automation. This will eventually enable the emergence of a concept called ‘ENERGY NEUTRALITY’.

ENERGY NEUTRALITY: Condition when a particular scenario becomes energy independent with the help of minimum resources.

For this concept to come true, technology bundle should be such that it takes care of all the three – energy generation, energy transmission and energy consumption in a collective manner to manage the energy scenario in the most optimum manner.

Solar PV Scenario in India and Its Adoption Issues

It is easy to tell that Solar PV is booming in India, of-course because of tremendously low solar tariffs news popping up every now and then. This should mean that solar is dead cheap now and we should be seeing it everywhere, in all farms, terraces, etc. But sadly that’s not the case. So is it because solar is not good for all or is the technology not satisfying enough for everyone to adopt or are the numbers in the news wrong?

The fact is, yes solar is booming in India and it is definitely good for all. But the boom is only in the larger solar PV market where the installations are worth certain MWs whereas when we talk about household and SME solar PV installations, the adoption is way below 1%. There are certain pain points regarding solar PV which has led to such low adoption at the ground level.

Here are the 3 major pain points:

  1. At the household and SME level, solar PV installation requires certain upfront capital investment which makes it look quite expensive to the end users.
  2. Most of the household and SME owners don’t exactly know how a solar PV system works. In such a situation, when someone goes out and suggests those owners to invest a couple of lakhs in such a system, it becomes really difficult for them to trust on the benefits against that investment. There is a lack of transparency in the working of the solar PV systems which has led to lot of misconceptions and frauds.
  3. The currently available systems in the market have been designed for stable grids which make them quite non-optimal in the Indian scenario where the grid situation is quite different because of its developing and expanding nature. The currently available systems are good for large scale solar PV power plants but quite out of sync when we talk about micro level installation that happen at the household and SME level. There is an immense need for systems that have been technically designed keeping in mind the Indian electricity grid scenario.

There is a need for specific technology which serves the Indian market with a certain extent of transparency in the system’s working which will eventually lead to making the economics more feasible followed by increased adoption of solar PV at the ground level. That is when we will actually be able to see the meaningful boom of Solar PV in India in our day to day lives.

Reasons for people to not opt for Solar

When it comes to India, Solar industry may be having its real “Boom” in the government backed tendered projects. But in the private space, things are still not Very promising. Although people are very keen on hearing about this (now not so new) technology, they are still a bit reluctant as to whether or not they want to ultimately invest in it. The main sectors in the Private solar market are Residential (Bunglows, Towers, row houses), Industrial (small to large manufacturing plants or engineering units), Commercial (offices, shops, restaurants, etc.), private educational bodies, private hospitals and community buildings. Below are a few points which a lot many times are the reasons behind companies and individuals rejecting this technology.

  • Tried and Tested:

People still lack the confidence for investing in solar rooftop systems. They would rather wait till someone in the vicinity or someone they know has set up the plant and tested its output.

  • The prices may fall:

Individuals interested in setting up solar power systems in their premise are doing regular research of the happening in this industry. They are aware about the drastic fall of tariffs for MW scale solar power plants and expect that the same will be replicated in the private industry soon.

  • Initial investment:

There is no doubt that the costs for setting up a solar power plant are high. Especially when the complete amount has to be paid by the owner at the start itself.

  • Solar should run the whole house:

Many people interested in setting up rooftop solar power system get sceptical when they find out Solar isn’t going to cut down their energy expenses by 100%. This is especially true in case of net metering where many state governments allow only a percentage of actual connected load to be set up for solar power system. Thus, they opt out of the system as it won’t make them energy independent.

  • Would like to try out a smaller system first:

Industrial or commercial clients generally have this approach towards solar power plants. They prefer investing first a smaller amount in a smaller system to check its reliability before actually thinking of going for a bigger installation.

Grid Connected Solar PV Systems

Solar PV technology for generating electricity from solar energy. Solar has been in India since quite some time now, but for a long time, it was not economically feasible for most Indians to take benefits of. But due to a drop in the prices of solar PV in the last few years coupled with significant policy-level implementations by Government of India, now, Solar PV technology looks quite lucrative. Who would not want to use solar energy, a free renewable resource readily available at their disposal, to effectively reduce their electricity bills and increase green footprint! With this post, we at Ushva would try to make you aware of the procedure in a step-bystep manner to implement Solar PV system for your house, office or any commercial complex.
What brought in the big change?

There are two ways of implementing Solar PV: “Grid Connected” and “Off Grid”. In an “Off Grid” system, your PV system is completely independent and is disconnected from your electricity supply (or your electricity distribution company), but in a “Grid Connected” system, your PV system is connected to your electricity supply (or your electricity distribution company).
The main difference between the two is
storage . In an “Off Grid” system, you need batteries to store electricity. But in a “Grid Connected” system, you do not need
batteries as whatever electricity is produced through the system, it can be sold to your electricity distribution company (or electricity-supply company). Batteries are a big cost component in the “Off Grid” system which makes the latter expensive. And not just expensive, but inefficient as well (because batteries inherently loose electricity/energy). Now, you might wonder – why would your electricity distribution company (a company that makes money by selling you electricity) want to buy electricity from you? Well, this is where the government comes in and the policy introduced by the government helps. India has severe electricity shortage in several parts of the country. We need electricity not only to cover the shortage, but also for a number of other infrastructural requirements. Sunlight is a free resource, and fortunately, it’s plentiful in our country.
Thus, to make good use of the free resource, i.e. solar energy, the Government has started implementing policies which allow each and every individual house or building that has plenty of open space to become a producer of electricity. So, it’s due to the Government’s mandate that your electricity distribution company has to buy electricity produced by your own system.
Because of such policy implementations, you can now have “Grid Connected” Solar PV systems that are quite economical (no battery costs).
How does the new policy work?

In every discussion related to “Grid Connected” Solar PV system, you shall hear a lot of these two terms: “Net-Metering” or “Gross Metering”. Let’s take look at both of these:

Net-Metering: In this system, you have a single new bi-directional meter. When you consume electricity from the grid (or your electricity supply), the meter readings will move forward; but, when you produce electricity and send it to the grid, the meter readings shall move backward. Suppose you use 10 units of electricity in a day and
produce 8 units, your meter will show a reading of 2 units. And if you use 10 units of electricity and produce 12 units, then your meter will show -2 units. Your bill at the end of month will be based on net units consumed/produced. If you generate extra electricity in any month, the surplus is carried over to the next month and netted. At the end of a year, if your total production is more that what you consumed, then you will get paid for the next surplus electricity produced at the cost decided by your state’s electricity regulatory commission.
Gross-Metering: In this system, there are two meters: one measures your electricity consumption and the other measures your electricity production. Consequently, you get two different bills: one for consumption and other for production. There is no change in the way your consumption is billed (as it happens today), but you get paid separately for the electricity you produce. Again, the cost of electricity that you are paid is decided by the states electricity regulatory commission.
How do the two differ?

If you look at the way electricity is, the price of electricity is lower when consumption is less and it is higher when the consumption is more. When you net your consumption, you don’t get a fixed cost for your electricity production. The price that you get varies; based on your consumption/production, whereas in case of Gross Metering, you get a fixed price for all the electricity you produce.
Is Grid Connected System good for everyone?

Although the policy is now available in most states in India, but if you reside in a location which experiences a lot of power cuts, then a “Grid Connected” system is NOT good for you. The reason is – when you have a “Grid Connected” system, you have to put all the electricity that you produce onto the grid. But, during power cuts, you essentially get is connected from the grid, which is why your system should
NOT put electricity on the grid. On such occasions, you need a battery backup to store the electricity that you generate.
Before implementing a solution, you need to assess your power cuts and accordingly decide if putting a “Grid Connected” system works for you or not. Because if power cuts are long and frequent, you would either waste electricity or you would have to figure out a way to store it in batteries.
How do you size the Solar PV system?

Now that you have figured out whether your state has a Net-Metering or Gross Metering policy, the next thing is to figure out the size of the Solar PV system that you can put. One of the biggest challenges with an “Off Grid” system is that your appliances are connected to the solar PV system. So, you have to figure out your appliances wattages, daily usage etc. to calculate the right size of your Solar PV system. This entire calculation can be somewhat complex and confusing.
With a “Grid Connected” system, the calculation is extremely simple. You just have to take your electricity bill and look up the value called: “Sanctioned Load” or “Connected Load”. Depending on your state’s policy, you can install a system equivalent to 100% to 150% of the connected load value that you have on your bill. So, for instance, if your connected load is 10 kW, then in some places you can install a maximum of 10 kW solar PV systems whereas in other places you can install up to 15 kW. But, in no case can you exceed 150% of the connected load for a “Grid Connected” system.
Shadow Analysis: The next challenge that you have to tackle is: shadow analysis. To get the optimum output from a Solar PV system, you need to ensure that you have enough shadow-free area that can hold the system. Typically (based on current
levels of efficiency of solar panels), you need a shadow-free area of 90-100 sq ft to install 1 kW of Solar Panels .
You have to make sure that:

1. There is no external body (like buildings, trees) that casts shadow on panels during the day.

2. Panels are placed in such a way that they get maximum sunshine throughout the day at the right angles.
Shadow Analysis can help you calculate the rooftop area that can be utilized and based on that (using 90-100 sq ft per 1 kWp) you can calculate the maximum size solar PV system that you can install. As mentioned earlier, you cannot exceed more than 100%-150% (depending on state) of the sanctioned load. There are software available that can be used to do this analysis too (they can predict shadows depending on seasons and location).
Can your roof hold the panels?

Typically solar panels are quite light, but once you have decided the place to install solar PV, you need to make sure that the roof should be able to handle the solar PV system. If you have asbestos sheets that are old, you may want to change them with tin sheets that are long-lasting. Your roof should be sturdy enough to hold the panels. If your roof is quite high and there is a lot of wind, you need to understand the setup with your installer to make sure that the installation is safe enough.
How to get Subsidies on Solar PV Rooftop?

As per the MNRE , CFA (Central Finance Assistance) notice ,subsidy is available for Solar Rooftop PV implementations. The CFA is 30% of the benchmark cost for general category states/UTs and 70% of the benchmark cost for North Eastern states
including Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The benchmark cost and CFA levels are revised by MNRE periodically.

The present benchmark costs as fixed by MNRE are – Rs 100/Wp for projects upto 100 kWp and Rs 90/Wp for projects between 100 kWp – 500 kWp. Please note, this scheme is currently available only upto 500 kWp projects. The subsidy is available only to these categories:

Residential: All types of residential buildings.

Institutional: Schools, health institutions including medical colleges and hospitals, educational institutes (both public and private), R&D institutions, etc.

Government Buildings: Both Central and State Government Buildings.

Social Sector: Community Center, Welfare homes, old age homes, orphanages, etc.
How do you apply for Subsidy? The process of application for subsidy is quite straightforward. First thing you need to do is contact your State Nodal Agency. MNRE has set up a Nodal Agency (or Energy Development Agency) in every state, for instance, in Maharashtra, it is MEDA (Maharashtra Energy Development Agency), in Andhra Pradesh it is NEDCAP (Non-Conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NEDCAP) Ltd.). The list of all State Nodal Agencies and their contact address/phone/website is available on this link on MNRE website: http://mnre.gov.in/related-links/contact-us/state-nodel-agencies/
To get subsidy, you have to apply for it with State Nodal Agency with all the relevant details about the project. The details include all technical and financial aspects of the project. You must take help from your system integrator to fill in all the details (you will get all the technical data about panels, inverters, etc). Once you fill in appropriate details, you need to put in an application with the State Nodal Agency. The agency will evaluate the proposals and estimate the level of subsidy that can be provided to a project. After nodal agency evaluation, the project is forwarded to MNRE for final consideration and approval.
Note: If you are planning to get a subsidy, your project should not start execution till there is approval from nodal agency. But then you should also not wait for the final subsidy to be disbursed as it can take quite a lot of time. So your project execution starts after nodal agency approval and before MNRE makes final decision.
Few Important Points regarding Subsidy

There are a few important points that one should be aware of before thinking about subsidy:

Although the CFA is stated as 30%, it keeps changing and for individual projects, the level of CFA is determined by State Nodal Agency and approved by MNRE. So it may not be 30% in reality.

There is a long queue for getting subsidy in almost every state. In fact in many states not even a single penny of subsidy has been disbursed for quite some time. MNRE specifically states that people should not wait for subsidy before implementing a project as you never know how long it will take.

Also as there is a long queue, MNRE uses a priority list to make final approval. All social sector projects, government projects and institutional projects may take priority over a project from a rich and affluent upper middle class residential society.

As mentioned earlier, your panels have to be Made in India to get subsidy. You may compromise a bit on efficiency in such a case. You have to determine if taking a subsidy or getting more output works for you.
How about Private, Commercial and Industrial Buildings?
If you have a private, commercial or industrial building and you want to set up a solar PV rooftop system, then you are not eligible for Subsidy. But, you are eligible for Accelerated Depreciation Benefits. The accelerated depreciation available currently is 40% in a year .
In general, for any industry, typically 15% depreciation can be claimed for any capital expense (like plants and machinery), which means if you make capital investment in any year, you can claim 15% depreciation in value to claim tax benefit. However, in case of Solar PV rooftop, the same is 40% in a year.
What is the maintenance required for such a system?

As batteries are eliminated, the maintenance required for such a system is quite less. The chief maintenance activity would be to clean the solar panels regularly so that dust does not accumulate on them. The other electrical components may have some wear and tear and would need fixes. To give a rough idea, maintenance cost is typically assumed to be 0.5% anually. In general, it is recommended to go for high quality components so that you just fit and forget the system and it keeps generating electricity for you.
Do I need approvals from my electricity distribution company?

You certainly need to take approvals from your electricity distribution company. This is because they are the ones who shall purchase electricity generated by your system. Before you start your project, you have to submit a form with your electricity distribution company (which can be done either online or offline). In the form, you will have to list out all the technical details of your PV project, along with your
electricity bills and other relevant documents. The electricity distribution company will also do their feasibility study before you go ahead and install the system.
Once the system is installed, the electricity distribution company will sign an agreement with you which is called a “Power Purchase Agreement” or PPA. This agreement will lay out the terms and conditions at which the electricity distribution company will purchase electricity from you. This should be in line with the terms setup by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission and will lay down the terms of purchase. Once everything is set up (from the system’s perspective) and the PPAs are signed, your electricity distribution company will install the “Net Meter” in your premise. Please note that your old meter may give way to this new meter (if you have a net-metering arrangement). Your system will start functioning once everything is set and connected.

The option of Solar PV Rooftop “Grid Connected” system looks quite lucrative for places with fairly regular and continuous supply of electricity. A majority of such places in the country are cities with higher tariffs and reliable electricity supply. It can be a great method to not only reduces electricity bills, but also the generated power can be routed to places which have a shortage of electricity. If you do have one such place in mind where you can install the system, give a try to solar PV rooftop “Grid Connected” system along with

Ushva (www.ushva.com | info@ushva.com | +917738986783)
System Requirement:
Area: 10*10 Sq.ft per KVA (Shadow free)
System Production:
Units Produced: 5 units per KVA per day (150 monthly). System Warranty:
BOS Warranty: 2 years
Solar Inverter: Manufacturer warranty (generally 5 years)
Solar Panels: Manufacturer warranty (efficiency warranty of 25 years)
Working Life of the system:
Works with 90% efficiency for the 1st 10 years and after 10 years with an efficiency of 80% minimum for another 15 years.in all an average of 25 years. Important Point to Note:
Scientifically it’s been found your Properties value gets increased after Installation of Solar PV.
As an Investment option Solar provide 16-24% ROI without any risk included in it (i.e it works as Insurance for you along with saving with a proper channel) also Prices of conventional fossil fuel is sure to increase as they are depleting that makes solar most lucrative option.
No Inspection and Commission Charges.
High Quality and Costumer Satisfactory Product from designing to installation to after support with more emphasis on awareness of Renewable Energy and eventually become the choice of the customer.

Contact Us:
We know you liked the concept and are interested to install a Solar PV System. We at Ushva are just a call away to hear your quires and happy to answer them as per your convenience.
C-111, Ansa Industrial Estate,
Saki Vihar Road, Sakinaka, Andheri East
Mumbai, Maharashtra – 400072