Design and Implementation of a Monitoring System for Decision Support in a Micro-business Based on a Solar Energy Microgrid in Rural Colombia
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Many regions of the world still do not have access to reliable energy sources. In recent years, there has been a push towards solving this energy problem with renewable clean energy. Introducing new energy solutions into communities with limited knowledge on technology can be a challenge. These communities need to have the tools and knowledge required to make good decisions on how to use and care for their energy source. This thesis provides a monitoring system that enables an indigenous community in Colombia to monitor and predict the behavior of their previously installed photovoltaic system. The already installed system powers six refrigerators, but provided no feedback to the user. This lead the community members to make decisions without having any support tools. The monitoring system is developed using a Human centered design process. This resulted in a local web server communicating with a photovoltaic controller and a current sensor. An electrical model created with MATLAB provides predictive abilities based on user input. Both are implemented on a Raspberry Pi with a website serving as the user interface. The implemented monitoring system has enabled the community to make informed decisions based on metrics such as battery level and predicted energy consumption and production.