Tag Archives: solar energy

Sun-believable! Sol Chip powers the IoT 24/7 with solar energy

Sol Chip’s IoT platform provides low-power communication module, with self-sustaining solar energy technology.

The Internet of Things calls for a lot of wireless devices, which in turn require wireless connection and power in order to operate. Typically speaking, wireless gadgetry is powered predominantly by batteries with limited life expectancy that inevitably deplete over time and need replacement. If we can get these devices to communicate with each other without the inconvenience of wires and installations, why can’t we do the same when it comes to powering them? Luckily, one company has already thought of a solution.


Meet Sol Chip — an Israeli startup that specializes in energy harvesting and communication platforms solutions for the IoT — who has created a power management unit that yields light energy to supply continuous and sustainable energy and communication of sensors’ data. The Sol Chip Com (SCC-M433) is a new autonomous monitoring platform that will eliminate the need to carry out maintenance procedures performed on battery-operated systems. Operable in sunlight and low-light environments, the batteries are a result of the cross pollination of solar cell and microchip technologies.

Not surprisingly, Sol Chip is driven by Atmel’s extremely low-powered MCUs (ATXmega32D3 and ATXmega32E5) in each of its various products. Specifically, the SCC-M433 features a solar battery with more than 10 years of maintenance-free operation, a network of wireless mesh nodes for coverage ranging up to 1,500 meters and 433Mdz radio frequency for outdoor applications.

Based on a patented IP, SCC-M433 integrates all required components into a single unit to operate 24 hours a day during summer and winter. Once an analog or digital sensor is connected the SCC-M433, data can be transferred to the cloud, allowing a user to keep tabs on and analyze the information. Sol Chip’s technology utilizes a low-cost manufacturing flow, thereby increasing overall efficiency while reducing operation costs by 60%.


“Extreme low-power microcontrollers enable us to design new cutting edge technology and be the leaders in our industry,” explains Dr. Shani Keysar, Sol Chip’s founder and CEO.

The product design was initially derived from a smart irrigation system that enabled growers to achieve higher yields, while diminishing the amount of water, cutting resource consumption and decreasing costs. Sol Chip’s more recent technology can easily fit other use cases where wireless mesh network is necessary, such as smart cities, structural health monitoring and asset tracking.

Intrigued? You can check out Sol Chip’s solar batteries and various applications here.

Hicosy lets you take control of your smart energy consumption

This open source, end-to-end platform helps you keep tabs on your solar energy use.

Have you ever wondered about the efficiency of your solar panels or just how much energy was being consumed inside your home? Luckily, there’s an open source monitor that can now provide an answer to those questions. Simply plug Hicosy into your photovoltaic system and smart meter, and immediately begin receiving real-time information and alerts.


Driven by an Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4), Hicosy comes in two different versions: one for data transmission over WiFi, the other using a cellular network. Each kit is comprised of a custom board, a microSD card, an Arduino GSM shield and some cables and accessories, all housed inside a specially-designed enclosure.

The kits work by connecting to the inverter, as well as either a HAN via Wi-Fi/Ethernet or a GSM network. From there, Hicosy is able to continuously collect energy production data such as voltage and current, and the status of your plant including warning messages, rate comparison and estimated gross revenue.


Acquired information is then transmitted to secure cloud application where it stored for personal monitoring using the web-based dashboard or mobile app. This allows anyone, ranging from homeowners to facility operators, to easily manage their energy activity and immediately receive push-notifications should something go wrong.


Interested? Head over to Hicosy’s Indiegogo page, where the team is currently seeking $85,000. Units are expected to begin shipping in December 2015.

Project ARETHA taps solar energy

ARETHA (Air Exchange Thermal Assembly) is a sustainable, Arduino-based platform designed to produce hot water from the sun. Manufactured out of low-cost materials, ARETHA is a relatively easy project to assemble.

“Traditional photovoltaic or thermal solar panels are too expensive for most people in developing countries, especially in small and isolated villages, because of import and production high costs,” an ARETHA rep explained in a recent Indiegogo post.

“On the contrary, ARETHA panel can be made from local material: wood, wool, car radiators, transparent plastic panels or glass.”

ARETHA is controlled by an Atmel-based Arduino board, activating the system pump and fan when the temperature difference between air and water rises over a defined threshold.

More specifically, the board measures temperatures across various parts of the platform by means of various digital sensor chips. Meanwhile, a DataLogger Shield paired with an SD card saves relevant system information, which is then relayed by an Ethernet shield over the Internet for remote monitoring purposes.

Interested in learning more? You can check out Project ARETHA’s official Indiegogo page here.