Fat Spaniel for renewable energy

Fat Spaniel logo
Fat Spaniel Technologies has provided cloud feedback services since 2003.  It attaches monitoring and communication devices to wind and solar generators, which send data via cell phone or other networks to their cloud service, which processes and displays the data.  They provide a number of ways to use the data.  They have grown rapidly, and are expanding to other forms of energy monitoring.

Fat Spaniel dashboard

The primary interfaces to the data are:

  • a Flash-based dashboard with continuously updated graphs and estimates of savings and carbon emissions avoided
  • a reporting system that can be reconciled against utility billing records or used for renewable energy credits or sustainability audits
  • an alerting system that can inform customer staff when there are problems with the generator

Their service is simple to understand. ¬† When an organization installs a wind turbine or solar installation, it will want to know how the system is operating for as long as it keeps the device. ¬†If the device stops producing full power due to a problem (like dirt on a solar cell or a worn bearing on a wind turbine), the owner will want maintenance staff to be informed promptly. ¬†If the organization serves the public, it will probably want to let the public know about its use of green energy. ¬†The Flash dashboard can be easily embedded on an organization’s web site, and its up-to-the-minute data is an effective attention-grabber. ¬† (Public examples include Warner Brothers studio and a California fire station.)

The service is also easy to sell.   Renewable energy installers are contractors who generally want to put equipment in and move on.  The ongoing service from Fat Spaniel is a natural third-party add-on to their sales.   Installing a monitor on each energy device is a simple matter for an installer.  For do-it-yourself or small-scale projects, individual devices can be purchased with 5 years of service included.   2500 renewable plants in 20 countries use Fat Spaniel today.

Once set up, the cloud service can be customized, either by Fat Spaniel or the customer, through interfaces in the Flash interface and through a web API for direct data access.

Fat Spaniel has announced partnerships to expand their reach, into¬†energy efficiency and utility-based home services. ¬† A new service adds¬†solar¬†facilities¬†management to their products. ¬†And I’ve been curious to see how far their solar hot water service will go. ¬†This is particularly interesting for utilities that may offer to install, finance, or subsidize solar hot water systems on a large scale. ¬†The utilities need to increase the renewable proportion of their energy delivery, and offering a metered end-use service (rather than fuel or power) is a significant departure. ¬†The¬†economics¬†of solar hot water are so compelling, especially for commercial or institutional customers, that there may be¬†opportunity for an intermediary,¬†either a¬†utility or “virtual utility”. ¬†Metering and monitoring from a cloud feedback service like Fat Spaniel can be an important enabler.

February 4, 2010 ¬∑ knovak ¬∑ No Comments
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