Solairedirect: managing solar energy production using satellite communication

The company

Founded in October 2006 in France, Solairedirect is an integrated operator of solar electricity with an international presence in four continents and a workforce of approximately 300 people. Solairedirect builds and installs solar panels, operates solar plants and provides consultancy on photovoltaic energy.

The challenge

The company’s market is rapidly expanding, requiring innovative and efficient management solutions, especially to evaluate solar potential and monitor solar parks constantly and efficiently, in real time, ensuring data security worldwide from the company’s headquarters in France. The monitoring system also had to have a constant pricing model, enabling a step-by-step deployment. The company evaluated several technical and economic solutions, including contracting the services of local companies for monitoring and maintenance, which did not prove cost-efficient enough.

The satellite solution

After an in-depth review of existing possibilities, Solairedirect found that satellite communication was the most cost-efficient solution to control the installations. In 2011, Solairedirect contracted Telespazio to provide satellite communication connections of its remote solar plants. These enable Solairedirect to constantly monitor the solar plants wherever they are, from its Paris headquarters. Solairedirect can now get real-time information on the how well the photovoltaic system performs (assessing actual VS projected energy outputs), on technical and security problems, weather forecast as well as remote video surveillance.

The result

The solution is easy to use and requires minimal equipment, can adapt to local conditions and its cost is proportional to the number of photovoltaic installations connected. The system is suitable for existing and future installations worldwide. Moreover, compared to other solutions, cost remains constant in time, allowing Solairedirect to better plan their investments.

The system, first tested in three solar parks, proved to be so efficient that it was implemented in all Solairedirect’s solar parks (16 installations) in 2011 and should be extended to another 20 sites during 2012.

“The solution can be adapted to any location of the world, while ensuring stability of costs.” Benjamin Drieux, Solairedirect.