Designing a unified dashboard that uses
real-time metrics to streamline solar power usage

Headquartered in San Francisco, USA, this leading cloud-based tracking software for solar companies offers a unified digital platform for solar project management. The versatile, metric- driven platform, used by customers across the US and international markets, enables solar panel developers, installers and end users to track solar power performance, streamline operations, and reduce transactional costs. The company partners with solar OEMs, financiers, and service providers globally. It has offices in Bangalore, India, and Dubai, UAE.

The challenge

A majority of the client’s customers are installers and developers of solar panels and storage systems. The client wanted Forgeahead to create a single, consolidated dashboard where installers could track and maintain their complete solar fleet. At the same time, the dashboard was also supposed to provide real-time solar metrics (such as power generation, consumption, performance, savings, and so on) to end users, allowing them to essentially ‘track, improve, and take control of solar power’.
The problem with the existing application was the user experience. It was taking too long to fetch and load the energy usage graphs on the dashboard. There was no way to show the energy usage data in real-time.

There were
three main challenges to overcome:

Each solar panel manufacturer used a different inverter (data logger) model to generate solar-related data. The system needed to be able to handle data from disparate sources.
Keeping track of all the fleets under an installer was another key challenge. The system needed to be able to receive data at high-velocity from these different kinds of solar panel inverters and populate a unified dashboard in real-time.
The frequency of telemetry data received from each inverter varies as per the manufacturer. There would additionally be spikes in data volumes by time of the day, day of the week, and seasons. The system needed to be able to scale flexibly to handle these peaks and continue real-time tracking of power and energy flows.

Why Amazon Web Services

After Forgeahead analyzed the pain points in detail, it became clear that only one solution would prove effective across the board: AWS Serverless.

Having delivered bespoke serverless solutions for its customers in the past, the Forgeahead specialists were able to harness their deep industry knowledge to design the required auto-scaling architecture for the client.
The serverless architecture is adaptable, running only when an inverter sends solar generation data,” says Mr. Zohair Hassan, Head of Product Engineering, Forgeahead Solutions. “This helped our client and their customers save on operational costs, as well as reduce the time and effort needed to manage and maintain their entire solar infrastructure.
While designing the serverless architecture for this leading cloud-based solar platform, Forgeahead used the following AWS services:

SAM

The AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM) is a framework for building serverless applications. It provides shorthand syntax to express functions, APIs, databases, and event source mappings. With just a few lines per resource, you can define the application you want and model it using YAML. This helped to build the serverless application faster and maintain it over time.

Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service. This service is used to process the data coming from various types of inverters.

AWS Logo

API Gateway

Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service that makes it easy to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale.

Kinesis

Amazon Kinesis makes it easy to collect, process, and analyze telemetry data coming from multiple inverters.

DynamoDB

This NoSQL DB is used to persist processed telemetry data to display the usage/performance of the system over time.

After leveraging the power of AWS Serverless, data from a variety of solar inverters can now be monitored and analyzed using a single digital platform.

the BENEFITS

Going serverless with AWS has helped us significantly reduce the infrastructure costs for ENACT and their large customer base,
says Zohair Hasan, Head Product engineering
at Forgeahead Solutions.
By providing pre-configured versions of the required services such as API Gateway and Kineses, AWS has helped us save considerable development time as well as eliminate the cumbersome aspect of maintaining servers.

New intervals now appear on the ENACT dashboard every 5 minutes,
Zohair Hasan, Head Product engineering
at Forgeahead Solutions, adds.
All the underlying services used are now fully managed and auto-scalable. They automatically up-scale and down-scale based on the load. Due to this, the platform can now handle any number of

Benefits of AWS

Harnessing the robust capabilities of AWS Serverless, the ENACT platform is now able to store integration-state data in a quick-access format.

AWS has also helped to create functionally-rich APIs that are aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.

All in all, AWS has helped Forgeahead create a faster, cost-controlled serverless architecture that is adaptable, autonomous, and auto-scalable.
Solar project worth over

$1 billion

processed annually

Over 1000

US solar contracting professionals use the client’s platform

Multiple
Global Awards

(US Dept. of Energy,
Dubai Future Foundation)

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