Case Study – Comprehensive Power Visibility for OFF-Grid Solar Hybrid Sites

 In Case Study
remote sites

Main Solutions Categories

  • Power Systems Control
  • Site Security
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Networking Communications

Customer at a Glance

  • Industry: Mobile Network Operator
  • Location: USA
  • Size: Top four mobile network operator in USA

Project at a Glance

  • No of sites: One site (pilot)
  • Project duration (# of days): Ongoing
  • Installed products: SiteBoss 550
  • Main Benefit: Increased visibility of conditions at very remote sites. Improved Time-to-Repair and increased warning of problem conditions.
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Mountaintops and other higher altitude locations are excellent places to locate telecom sites due to the vast distances that can be covered from a single point. At the same time, mountaintops are difficult-to-reach sites locations that can make monitoring and service visits highly expensive, time-consuming, and even impossible during certain times of the year.  Often AC grid power at these sites is impractical and some other power source needs to be provisioned. Asentria began working with a North American mobile network operator to address issues for remote sites that had no grid power available.

Customer Challenge

Asentria’s customer is a North American mobile network operator with remote sites in the Southwestern United States with no grid power available.   A number of these sites were 4-6 hours drive to reach by the nearest cell technician. The off-grid solar hybrid site is powered by 7 photovoltaic (PV) arrays during the day which also charges the batteries on site. The site also has a fuel cell system that provides power when the sun can’t charge batteries adequately. Asentria’s mission was to fully instrument the off-grid hybrid sites and provide the customer’s Network Operation Center with extensive remote visibility.

Project Objectives

To ensure full remote visibility on how a site is being powered at any time, as well as to quickly indicate any alarm conditions, the following variables and functionalities had to be measured and integrated by Asentria’s solution (SiteBoss 550):

  • Fuel Cell System(Output Current, Output Voltage, Status, Fault status, Stack and other operational status, Remote intervention for clearing faults (via relay)
  • Fuel Cell Levels – Combine multiple tanks to a single value
  • PV System (voltage, current production)
  • Batteries (Battery Voltage,  Battery Current)
  • Shelter temperature monitoring to ensure for battery health
  • Network for IP devices (camera and fuel cell system)  without using multiple main network IP.

Solution

To meet customer’s challenges, Asentria’s engineering team decided to integrate its powerful site security monitoring appliance, the SiteBoss 550. The Siteboss monitors the PV voltage, PV output current, battery current and voltage (in and out), fuel cell system voltage and current. The SiteBoss also monitors shelter temperature and provides a LAN network for additional IP connections/addresses for additional IP devices at the site without using ports on the site router. This allowed for the connection for remote access to an IP camera, as well as giving remote access to the fuel cell system.

Customer Benefits

  • The Network Operation Center gained better visibility of a difficult to reach site.
  • Problems can be identified early as power system performance can be monitored.
  • Reduced network downtime and cost to provide a service visit.

The ideal solution was to use the SiteBoss appliance and its web interface as a means of representing all the data from the different systems in a single, easily visible dashboard. An Asentria Application Engineer was on hand to help install the SiteBoss, integrate it to the various equipment, and represent the data in the dashboard within the SiteBoss Web User Interface. The dashboards also allowed for links to attached IP equipment at the site, giving a single interface for both viewing the status and related values at the site, and also accessing other equipment.

How good is the power visibility at your cell sites?

We are expert at telecom site automation! We have the opportunity to work with various leaders in the telecom network operations industry across the world and want to share with you our firsthand knowledge in hopes of continuing to improve telecom site management.

Download today the Technical Case Study to learn more about the technical details of the project as well as how our objectives have been accomplished.ce

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