IoT helps solar growth as central energy source across East Africa

SolaNowSolarNow - powered water supply. (Image source: SolarNow)SolarNow, provider of high quality solar energy in East Africa, has turned to IoT, while also integrating M2M cellular connectivity and AWS Cloud within its solutions, to provide better services to SolarNow customers

While the time, costs and risks involved in setting up IoT deployments can appear to be a daunting, SolarNow turned to IoT M2M connectivity specialist Eseye. The company aims to provide a highly secure and reliable global cellular network data through the AnyNet Secure™ SIM, with seamless integration onto the AWS Cloud.

Jeremy Potgieter, SADC regional head at Eseye, said that SolarNow’s requirement was to enhance access to and use of device data. “They wanted better oversight of remote equipment and to be able to communicate with clients, for example when payments are due or if there is an issue with their device.”

The SIM’s features focus on enabling SolarNow to remotely and securely activate, provision, authenticate and certify deployed devices over-the-air, in up to 190 countries. Integration with AWS Cloud Services, further simplifies project set up and deployment by reducing the need for investment in specialist in-house infrastructure and development resources.

Solar as an energy source is becoming increasingly vital and viable to off-grid populations in the East African region, in part to reduce kerosene lamps, but also to harness the significant economic, social and health benefits reliable power sources provide.

SolarNow aims to provide sustainable, quality solar energy in the region through the provision of solar powered equipment, appliances and services to remote or off-grid home, farm, school, health centre and business locations.

Working with developers at SolarNow, Eseye also created software and supplied a reference design, which the company could simply copy onto the circuit board of the microprocessor, which sits on a solar controller and manages SolarNow’s solutions.

Potgieter said that that the capabilities provided to SolarNow have empowered the company to become completely self-reliant and secure in connecting and managing its growing product portfolio.

He further added that SolarNow has fully exploited the tools to make IoT easy, a move which is not only pivotal for the company’s future growth, but also for the future of the customers it serves. “The power of connected technology to solve issues and truly change lives across Africa, by enabling service provision for even the most remote or disempowered members of its communities, cannot be underestimated.”

“By turning to cellular connectivity, SolarNow can further credit provision, mostly through better insights into client behaviour; making solar more accessible through affordable finance. Using cellular connectivity also means the performance of the solar system can be remotely monitored, ensuring a much better service for customers,” said Peter Huisman, chief technical officer at SolarNow.

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