Advancements in photovoltaic systems technology now enable smart tracking for maximum gained sunlight energy output. Unlike their stationery counterparts, solar photovoltaic (PV) trackers orient solar panels towards the sun throughout the day and protect the panels during inclement weather, from hail or gusting wind. By harnessing as much energy as possible, solar PV trackers become key to maximizing the return on investment of solar plants.
Wireless Brings Scalability and Increased Flexibility
Within each solar farm deployment, the choice between wireless-based or wired connected trackers depends on the specific requirements, scale, and complexity. but with wireless systems, the expandability, robustness against wear-and-tear, future-proof, cost, ease of installation, and being able to combine multiple use cases to one network are significant advantages.
Wi-SUN for Robust Wireless Communication for Solar Trackers
Wireless tracker solutions can be implemented with various connectivity options using different topologies, from star to RF mesh. Yet, the mesh technologies are the ones to secure the required communication robustness in the harsh RF environment that the solar tracker solutions operate, given by the metal panels and the signal absorbing terrain.
- Wireless connectivity enables flexibility and expandability
- Wireless can be used to combine multiple use cases to same network, e.g. trackers and cleaning robots
- Standards based solution ensure future-proof and avoid vendor lock
Why Choose Wi-SUN
- RF Mesh for extended range
- Nodes density up to thousands in one network
- Up to 2400 kbps throughput
- Node to node distance several km
RF Mesh With Sub-GHz Frequency offers the best combination for range and robustness for solar tracker networks. Alongside robustness, coverage area is also considered, as solar farms tend to grow exponentially in size. Wi-SUN answers all these requirements by supporting RF mesh within the sub-GHz frequency bands, a unique value proposition against other competing technologies. The Wi-SUN FAN performs well in both urban and rural deployments.
Node Count in a solar farm can vary based on how the solar trackers are being set up. One tracker control can be responsible for several motors in a panel row or individual trackers can control only a smaller number of panels. With Wi-SUN the node count can extend to several thousand under one network.
Throughput with OFDM
Depending on the data throughput requirements, many technologies can support the command-and-control functionality. Yet, if more data analytics are expected or several use cases are to be supported, then the supported data bandwidth can become a bottleneck in some Sub-GHz and mesh technologies, but not with Wi-SUN. The addition of orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation in Wi-SUN v 1.1 increases the throughput to 2.4 Mbps, a level where multiple use cases or extensive analytics can be supported on a single network.
Native IPv6 Support makes Wi-SUN easy to connect to existing applications and extend the application layer to address nodes natively from the Internet, without anytranslation needed. Low-latency (typically, 0.2 s to 1 s) is particularly suitable for connecting large number of solar-tracker nodes.
Wi-SUN has been developed with security in mind, bringing enterprise level security. Every Wi-SUN network offers certificate-based authentication for root of trust and network access, mechanisms for key exchange and rotation and specified security modules, and crypto processors. All of these are enforced and part of the Wi-SUN certification program.
Visit our Wi-SUN technology page to learn more on how you can get started or contact your local Silicon Labs representative.