Interoperability is an essential enabler for sustainable technology to scale. By providing compatibility among products through open-source hardware and software communication protocols, we are now taking a step up from closed environments that often require costly and limiting customized integrations and that are a barrier to consumer choice for essential products. The benefits of interoperable systems will be significant for all the actors within the industry while playing a vital role in achieving universal energy access for the 1.1 billion people in the world still lacking affordable and safe access to electricity.
Off-grid appliances don't currently have a common system to communicate with SHS. As a result, each SHS and appliance manufacturer has to individually adapt its firmware to communicate with external systems (Payg hardware or management software). Such closed ecosystems show important limitations:
Manufacturers have large R&D expenses to enter and grow in the off-grid & Paygo sector;
The appliances provided are often limited to those provided by Payg system manufacturers;
The appliances are locked to a single Payg system with customers thus limiting consumers’ choice of appliances.
Last year, Solaris Offgrid was awarded an R&D Grant from Efficiency for Access, with funding from UK Aid, to oversee the development of an open-source communication protocol with the aim of providing the industry with a standardized ecosystem that facilitates the integration of Paygo devices with a wider range of appliances.
Working together with manufacturers such as Fosera or Embraco to set the grounds for this protocol over the past few months, Solaris Offgrid started to develop an open-source communication protocol to be adopted by appliances manufacturers, along with Payg systems so that all could be interoperable under the same industry standards. The scaled adoption of such interoperable standards could enable the distribution of a wider range of appliances, provide a larger market for appliance manufacturers to engage with, and finally, it would provide greater choice and better products for the end-users. In addition, thanks to the common protocol, the appliance manufacturers could also receive key data points on the usage and performance of the appliances, with the possibility to implement a load shed feature that could allow greater flexibility and energy savings.
In order to meet the Industry-wide needs in adopting interoperability standards, and encouraged by the Compatibility and Interoperability Technology Roadmap developed by Efficiency for Access, GOGLA has recently convened a group of companies, among which Solaris Offgrid, to be part of a Technology Working Group, to take part in a volunteer initiative of defining interoperability standards and implementing them on their product ranges. Through this initiative, participants will innovate together to define all the bricks forming the foundations of interoperability (connector choice, physical layer, network layer, application layer, etc.).
The OpenPAYGO Link, is defined at hardware and software levels and features a half-duplex communication over a single wire with a multi-drop connection topology. It ensures reliable data transmission, even with different ground potentials between nodes, thanks to a proven transceiver. Although it is not intended to transmit long frames it supports any variable-length payload. These characteristics make it a powerful and inexpensive system for achieving reliable communication between SHS and appliances at low cost.
For Solaris Offgrid, being part of such working group is an incredible opportunity to co-create with manufacturing leaders of the industry such as Fosera and even some of our software competitors such as Angaza (who is currently developing part of the application layer, the management system that allows you to pair devices for activation) and set the grounds for interoperability standards that will at term enhance consumer choice, lower integration costs and drive appliance market growth.
You would like to be amongst the first to adopt the technology and jump into a new world of interoperability and cost savings? Contact us at email@example.com
About Solaris Offgrid :
Solaris Offgrid supports solar energy distributors to build strong customer traction and greater relations with investors through flexible and inclusive Paygo solutions, designed for last-mile operations. Adopting a bottom up approach in the design of its solutions and creating synergies with a strong network of partners to solve last-mile challenges, the company has already deployed Paygo solutions in nearly 30 countries through PaygOps, Solaris Offgrid in-house software solution built “In the Field, for the Field” and its product design services. Leading reference in the off-grid solar market, PaygOps, is engineered to deliver modular and interoperable solutions to address off-grid energy access challenges and distribution complexity. For more information on PaygOps, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.