Alternative Energy Solutions - Solar Powered Telemetry
A long-term and uninterrupted monitoring of the environmental and geological data is being implemented by many countries for the purpose of safeguarding the environment and wildlife. In such remote ecologically vulnerable areas, utilizing telemetry is the only option to implement an unattended monitoring system so that the requirement on cost and safety can be satisfied. Like any other system, the telemetry systems also need power to function. But the coverage rate of the power grid in these areas is usually lower than the average level and often not available. In these cases, solar powered systems become the most feasible option in terms of stability, reliability and ease of maintenance. Moreover, they are increasingly becoming the best solution for power supply of telemetry systems. The combination of the two systems forms a solar-powered telemetry solution. It is widely used in applications such as water management, navigation, wildlife research and management for unattended monitoring and data logging.
A solar-powered telemetry system is commonly made up of three subsystems: solar power system, telemetry system and communication system. The solar power system consists of solar panels, rechargeable battery, charge management and power conversion. This system is used to collect solar power and store electrical power, and then convert the stored power into the one that is suited for the telemetry system. The telemetry system may have different designs depending on the different applications. In general, it basically includes three blocks: sensors, signal conditioning and MCU.
The telemetry system is responsible for the collection of environmental data and equipments’ operation status and the transmission of the collected information to the control center. The communication system employs different modules and structures according to the communication modes applied by the system and the control center. The direct communication with the control center is realized mostly by the high-power module dedicatedly designed for long distance transmission. In some areas where there are existing cellular networks, the GPRS/CDMA modules in these networks can be used as the substitutes. The indirect communication can be implemented using the lower-power modules and repeaters. After receiving the data from those modules, the repeaters can boost the transmission power to resend the data to the control center