Tutorial: Deploy and walk through the solar panel monitoring app template

Use the IoT Central solar panel monitoring application template and the guidance in this article to develop an end-to-end solar panel monitoring solution.

solar panel architecture.

This architecture consists of the following components. Some applications may not require every component listed here.

Solar panels and connectivity

Solar panels are one of the significant sources of renewable energy. Depending on the solar panel type and set up, you can connect it either using gateways or other intermediate devices and proprietary systems. You might need to build IoT Central device bridge to connect devices, which can't be connected directly. The IoT Central device bridge is an open-source solution and you can find the complete details here.

IoT Central platform

Azure IoT Central is a platform that simplifies building your IoT solution and helps reduce the burden and costs of IoT management, operations, and development. With IoT Central, you can easily connect, monitor, and manage your Internet of Things (IoT) assets at scale. After you connect your solar panels to IoT Central, the app template uses built-in features such as device models, commands, and dashboards. The app template also uses the IoT Central storage for warm path scenarios such as near real-time meter data monitoring, analytics, rules, and visualization.

Extensibility options to build with IoT Central

The IoT Central platform provides two extensibility options: Continuous Data Export (CDE) and APIs. The customers and partners can choose between these options based to customize their solutions for specific needs. For example, one of our partners configured CDE with Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS). They're using ADLS for long-term data retention and other cold path storage scenarios, such batch processing, auditing, and reporting purposes.

In this tutorial, you learn how to:

  • Create a solar panel app for free
  • Walk through the application
  • Clean up resources

Prerequisites

  • There are no specific prerequisites required to deploy this app.
  • You can use the free pricing plan or use an Azure subscription.

Create a solar panel monitoring application

  1. Navigate to the Azure IoT Central Build site. Then sign in with a Microsoft personal, work, or school account. Select Build from the left-hand navigation bar and then select the Energy tab:

    Smart meter template

  2. Select Create app under Solar panel monitoring.

To learn more, see Create an IoT Central application.

Walk through the application

The following sections walk you through the key features of the application:

Dashboard

After you deploy the application template, you'll want to explore the app a bit more. Notice that it comes with sample smart meter device, device model, and dashboard.

Adatum is a fictitious energy company that monitors and manages solar panels. On the solar panel monitoring dashboard, you see solar panel properties, data, and sample commands. This dashboard allows you or your support team to perform the following activities proactively, before any problems require additional support:

  • Review the latest panel info and its installed location on the map.
  • Check the panel status and connection status.
  • Review the energy generation and temperature trends to catch any anomalous patterns.
  • Track the total energy generation for planning and billing purposes.
  • Activate a panel and update the firmware version, if necessary. In the template, the command buttons show the possible functionalities, and don't send real commands.

Screenshot of Solar Panel Monitoring Template Dashboard.

Devices

The app comes with a sample solar panel device. To see device details, select Devices.

Screenshot of Solar Panel Monitoring Template Devices.

Select the sample device, SP0123456789. From the Update Properties tab, you can update the writable properties of the device and see a visual of the updated values on the dashboard.

Screenshot of Solar Panel Monitoring Template Update Properties tab.

Device template

To see the solar panel device model, select the Device templates tab. The model has predefined interfaces for data, properties, commands, and views.

Screenshot of Solar Panel Monitoring Template Device templates.

Clean up resources

If you decide not to continue using this application, delete your application with the following steps:

  1. From the left pane, select Administration.

  2. Select Application settings > Delete.

    Screenshot of Solar Panel Monitoring Template Administration.