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1. Innovation

  • 1.1. What is our present technical edge?
    We are offering a unique technology of individual module monitoring, called SunSniffer, which is integrated in the junction boxes of solar modules, allowing 100% transparency on the performance and functioning of power plants thanks to real-time data collection from individual modules/strings and advanced artificial intelligence. This allows for problem detection and pattern prediction, providing the customer with a totally user-friendly interpretation of the data and with an indication of which O&M actions are to be taken. By precisely indicating which are the modules affected, what the problem may be and what actions are to be taken, the SunSniffer saves plant owners expensive on-site visits to diagnose the issues and enables technicians to easily and effectively repair the affected modules. This helps save up to 50% in O&M costs and improves plant performances by up to 7%. See section below “SunSniffer Technology”.

2. Sunsniffer Technology

  • 2.1. What is it? Integrated monitoring at module level
    The SunSniffer technology by SunSniffer GmbH & Co. KG is an innovative technology designed for highly accurate monitoring at module level of the overall performances of whole PV installation, allowing for safe and consistent energy production as it increases the efficiency of the plant by up to 7% and saves up to 50% from O&M. Thanks to SunSniffer the efforts in monitoring the performance of the power plant are minimized, as this smart technology is able to detect problems and predict problem patterns from remote, which allows for tailored O&M interventions without the necessity to invest in expensive problem detection activities on site. As a result the yields from the power plant are maximized. 
  • 2.2. What are its advantages?
    SunSniffer has several advantages:
  • 2.2.1. Why it is needed
    PV Plants do not operate as well as they could: each module is subject to natural degradation, plus faults resulting from production and external influences cause reduction in performance - often much greater than assumed.

    Conventional technology provides no feedback from where the electricity is produced: namely in the module. Many errors cannot be detected by conventional diagnostic methods in the field. Further, these methods are also complex and expensive.
  • 2.2.2. Why it is good
    Only through accurate, module-specific data collection and data analysis can data quality and depth of information be obtained that goes beyond mere error detection: where and what the problem is becomes clear. This provides you with 100% transparency on the installation.

    This allows precise recommendations for action and provides an easy-to-understand display, also for non-technical personnel. Repair and maintenance costs can be accurately assessed, weighed and calculated

    The simple yet ingenious technical system not only uses the existing wiring and thus offers the highest efficiency and safety, but is also extremely robust and low-priced.
  • 2.2.3. What is the advantage of module monitoring systems with respect to inverter and string monitoring systems?
    With SunSniffer you do not have to drive into the field to check for the problem. 90% of the cases can be analyzed in remote. The repair job is defined without local diagnostics. That saves a lot of time and money.
  • 2.3. What is its structure
    The SunSniffer system consists of different components, all especially robust and designed for an easy „plug-and-play“ integration: SunSniffer Sensor, SunSniffer String Reader, SunSniffer Gateway, and SunSniffer Webportal.
  • 2.3.1. SunSniffer Sensor
    A small chip directly integrated by SunSniffer GmbH & Co. KG in the junction box of the solar modules. The sensor measures voltage and temperature in relation to the serial number of the solar module and transmits them to the String Reader through the Powerline Technology – the transmission runs over the existing DC, saving the deployment of further communication cabling. The measurements takes place every 30 seconds with a precision of +/- 1 %.
  • 2.3.2. SunSniffer String Reader
    The String Reader collects the data coming from the sensors within a string of modules and measure the current as well as the voltage. The data are then sent to the Gateway via Modbus (RS 485).
  • 2.3.3. SunSniffer Gateway
    The SunSniffer Gateway collects all data from the field: data from the StringReaders, inverters, irradiation and other environmental sensors, and transmits them to the WebPortal via internet. 
  • 2.3.4. SunSniffer Webportal
    The Webportal analyzes and edits the data. The SunSniffer Webportal does not only detect individual performance variations but can also analyse patterns (e.g., shading of a module) by using intelligent data analysis. In case of damage of the module the system informs the plant maintainers via email or SMS. Through a visualization function it is possible to see represented the whole solar installation as it was planned and built. Thanks to the module serial number, which is registered in the sensor chip, it is possible to identify univocally the module.
  • 2.4. Further characteristics
    Sensor and StringReader communicate over the normal solar cabling using a specifically developed transmission technology (PLC, Powerline Communication). An additional installation of communication cables is therefore not necessary.
  • 2.5. Reliability and Plug & Play
    No extra cabling thanks to Powerline-Technology (PLC). 
    Sensor and StringReader communicate over the normal solar cabling using a specifically developed transmission technology. An additional installation of communication cables is therefore not necessary.

3. Technical FAQ