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Kansai Electric Invests in Startup for Solar Panel Monitoring

Using power line communications

2019/07/18 21:45
Sousuke Kudou, technical writer
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K4 Ventures (K4V, Osaka City), a venture capital of the Kansai Electric group, announced July 12, 2019, that it has invested in Girasol Energy Inc through third-party allocation of shares.

Girasol Energy (Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo) is a venture firm spun off from the University of Tokyo. Girasol Energy has its own technologies for a solar panel monitoring system using power line communications. The amount of investment was not disclosed.

The "PPLC-PV" IoT platform developed by Girasol Energy collects data such as voltage and temperature for each solar panel by setting up IoT sensors and using power line communications. It enables to collect real-time data from each panel at a low cost. It realizes automatic analysis using AI (artificial intelligence), detects abnormalities and evaluates performance.

By remotely monitoring the operation states of solar power generation (PV) facilities, it can reduce labor cost for maintenance and inspection. Also, by detecting defects early, it can maximize the amount of power generation, according to Girasol Energy.

The PPLC-PV will be tested by using the PV facilities of the Kansai Electric group, and the group and Girasol Energy aim to use the system for the group and jointly develop and provide new services for customers.

The Kansai Electric Power Co Inc (KEPCO) is establishing a system for investing in venture firms by using K4V as an investment body in the aim of creating business opportunities by using the innovative technologies and business models of venture firms and the Kansai Electric group's management resources. The latest investment is its 11th investment in venture firms and ninth direct investment.