Behind the Growth of Renewable Energy — 4G Wireless Connectivity

This month, Broad Sky is celebrating Earth Day all month long, with a look into how 4G wireless technology has helped green solutions make seismic advances. This week we take a look at renewable energy: solar and wind. Renewable energy is the fastest growing energy source in the United States, increasing 100 percent from 2000 to 2018; a pleasant statistic for those who are concerned over the worldwide addiction to fossil fuels, a known producer of carbon dioxide. Carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels accounts for three-quarters of the world’s carbon emissions.

Rise in Solar

During 2019, just over 2 percent of global electricity came from solar. This rate jumps to 10 percent of generated U.S. electricity today. The growth of the Solar industry can be partially attributed to strong federal policies, the Solar Investment Tax Credit, and now the much anticipated Transportation and Infrastructure bill, which promises to pump more investment into clean energy solutions like solar. We would argue that the unsung hero in permitting the swell of remote solar plant sites is advanced wireless connectivity. Solar construction sites, specifically ground-mounted solar panels, are often in remote locations – think of the photos of a sea of solar panels stretching farther than multiple football fields.

Enabling Remote Construction

As most anyone who has tried to travel cross-country and seen Big Sky unmarred by telephone poles, these remote areas often have no wired service. To run effectively, solar construction companies must have ultra-fast, maximum bandwidth Internet to run cloud-based software. A feat utterly impossible to achieve without advanced cellular solutions that can secure reliable and redundant connectivity in remote locations. Something that is often achieved through the bundling or bonding of multiple carrier frequencies. Often, these large solar construction firms will have up to 35 projects going on at one time. When one project is complete the company picks up and moves to the next. All of their software, hardware, and wireless broadband connectivity must move with them, seamlessly transferring data from one location to the next in real-time.

Rise in Wind Turbine

Not to be outdone by its sunny cousin, wind energy has grown wings of its own over the past decade. The U.S. wind capacity increased by 166 percent between 2010 and 2021, an average annual increase of 10 percent4. Like Solar Farms, the location of Wind Turbine farms is often in wide open, remote spaces – where the wind can really whip up some speed, uninterrupted by buildings or other structures. So, it should be no surprise that the top 5 states for wind power generation are:

Critical Connectivity

Wind Turbines require remote wireless connectivity, not just in their construction, but also in their ongoing function. Similar to Solar Construction, turbine generators are built and maintained onsite. So, like solar construction firms, wind engineers require the same level of high-speed, 4G wireless connectivity and evolving 5G, throughout their build. But the story doesn’t end there. nergy companies who build these wind farms will assist their clients by monitoring the level of electricity generated by each turbine. Something that requires a wireless connection to maintain. In addition, the same companies will allow their customers to finance their wind turbines by selling the unused electricity back to the electric company. Net Energy Metering laws make these wind farm projects feasible even if a customer’s operation does not run 24 hours a day. When turbine generation exceeds customer demand, or if energy is generated when a customer facility is not running, the excess energy runs back into the grid, and the customer receives a credit from their utility. Conversely, when the wind is idle or customer demand exceeds turbine production, the customer buys grid power as usual or a combination of grid and turbine power. The customers’ operations face no power disruption from their wind turbines; the wind turbines and grid operate seamlessly in parallel — all made possible by always-on, reliable, high-speed, broadband connectivity.

In Summary, Connectivity Makes Renewable Possible

We are pleased to play such a big role in the enablement of renewable energy. Perhaps the Earth is pleased as well. Join us again next week when we delve into the importance of Water Preservation and the role wireless place in assisting our agricultural farms produce more efficiently.
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