Remote monitoring allows you to track important changes to your hardware without requiring a field visit, thus saving time and money. India and much of Africa has many off grid installations with battery storage and some form of renewable source such as solar or wind. Usually, qualified service technicians need to travel long distances to reach these installations whenever there is a problem. Using Wattmon and a USB dongle, technicians can access the sites over GPRS or 3G if available and can troubleshoot the likely cause before travelling. Typically, problems are associated with incorrect charging or discharging of battery packs, and this data is not known before installing a data logger and understanding the charge and discharge profiles.
We have installed a prototype wind/solar hybrid setup where Wattmon controls the charging by switching on a dump load when the battery is full, and switches off the load when the battery is empty. We monitor this setup remotely and can inform the client exactly what the problem is when the system goes out by checking the graphs. We also tweaked the charge algorithm remotely. This type of control over a data connection means that we only visit a site once for the setup but we can continue to provide support remotely.