Using Node-RED to keep Solar PV afloat

How spb sonne used Node-RED with a renewable energy solution

| Zeger-Jan van de Weg

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Krisnan Ravichandran works for spb sonne, a engineering consultancy for renewable energy. Within the company he is part of the engineering effort on the Gömbhal project, creating a floatation device for solar panels.

In this post, he shares his experiences of using Node-RED.

Currently there’s a prototype deployed in Hungary, while the company is located in Stuttgart: “We’re remotely monitoring the installation. There are over 40 sensors that all connect to an ADAM-6717, Compact Intelligent Gateway. When the data is acquired we leverage Node-RED flows that maintain the structure, monitor performance, and provide reporting back to our offices.

Node-RED is embedded in the ADAM 6717, it was very new to me. I was already experienced in programming, mainly Python, and within a month I felt very comfortable and productive in Node-RED. Understanding programming is useful, though not a necessity.

Building and improving flows I did on my own through trial-and-error, as well as a lot of times through help on the Node-RED Forum. The community is helpful and welcoming to new users. Now I maintain multiple flows with very different purposes. Some track temperature, irradiation wind-speed, direction, tilt and wave height; to ensure the floating PV installation remains floating. Other sensors are connected to actuators through flows that control pressure.

We do have some challenges; the ADAM 6717 contained an older version of Node-RED. This raised questions around security and maintenance, as our Node-RED version isn’t updated to a newer version in an easy manner. It also hampers training a bit because documentation might reference an API or node for a flow that’s just not the same on older versions.

However, I’d choose Node-RED again, it’s well known as well as easy to learn. Furthermore I found it very versatile.”


Thanks to Krisnan for sharing his story. If you have a Node-RED story for us to share, please get in touch via contact@flowforge.com.

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