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OpenPAYGO™ Metrics: The data structuring tool helping to monitor CO2 emissions and more

A Closer Look:

What is OpenPAYGO Metrics?

Put simply, “It’s a way for devices to tell management software like PaygOps what they’ve been doing” to quote CTO Benjamin David. OpenPAYGO Metrics is a free and open source API (Application Programming Interface) specification that provides standardisation of data from PAYGO- enabled devices. This allows connected devices to send usage data to a server on any operations management platform which can then retrieve information about their activation status and modify this accordingly. This data can be directly integrated with analytics tools and platforms like PaygOps which allows for visualisation and intuitive analysis (e.g. via dashboards and graphs), or it can be sent to a server directory and stored in CSV raw file format before being downloaded and processed.

OpenPAYGO Metrics usage example

This open source technology allows for the compression of performance data and impact metrics which can be essential for monitoring PAYG operations and energy dispersal. This information can then be shared with investors or CO2 credit providers who need an accessible format when visualising data relating to consumption metrics. The structuring process with OpenPAYGO Metrics happens both at the moment of data generation- where it is compressed and arranged- and at the moment of retrieval when it is being visualised after decompression.

Illustration of OpenPAYGO Metrics data flow
Illustration of OpenPAYGO Metrics data flow

OpenPAYGO Metrics can be implemented to address complications relating to the time and cost of data analysis. Previously, manufacturers and Last Mile Distributors needed to allocate time and resources to render the usage data compatible with various platforms. The language used for these metrics was often overly verbose and thus not optimal for transmission. By implementing OPM (OpenPAYGO Metrics), the language used is both condensed and flexible allowing for the optimal version to be extracted and then translated in more detail.

SolarisLab initiated this project with end-users in mind. Based on feedback gathered in the past 9 years from PAYG users and manufacturers in the field, it became clear that it was not always financially viable for users in the market to cover the extensive costs of GSM data transfer from their devices to a cloud server. Consequently, by compressing this data before sending it to a cloud server for storage thus reducing data consumption, users of OpenPAYGO enabled devices feel less of the impact in overall cost.

OpenPAYGO Metrics is currently available as an open source firmware download on GitHub, a platform that allows for free and open code sharing. Interested parties in the manufacturing or distribution sector can access this technology independently for installation. The interoperability of OpenPAYGO Metrics allows manufacturers to access data and documentation without additional cost. Additionally, SolarisLab provides integration services to clients seeking industry certification as well as testing and any eventual troubleshooting to ensure full functionality of OpenPAYGO Metrics on their devices.

OpenPAYGO Metrics can be used not only for data extraction but also data management and analysis. This open source technology assists Last Mile Distributors by diminishing risk involved in positioning themselves in the PAYG market. LMDs can experience difficulty leading to apprehension to invest in this model. Having accurate and live data relating to their product usage allows them to provide improved customer service, make informed decisions, and maintain steady relationships between clients and distributors. Improved relationships between client and distributors is shown to impact client follow-through on payment of PAYG contracts, on average a PAYG contract has a duration of up to 3 years so it is essential to provide close support to clients.

"Since we implemented the standardized OpenPAYGO Metrics, the transfer of PAYGO tokens to our devices has been very reliable and efficient. It simplifies the work with different partners using this same data structure." - Thomas G. of Access to Energy Institute ( A2EI )

Access to Energy Insitute is a German research and development institution which in addition to OpenPAYGO Metrics has also adopted another technology from the OpenPAYGO Suite: OpenPAYGO™ Token. They are using this open-source communication protocol, to make their AAM-Series devices Paygo and boost their mission of unlocking innovative solar products.

How does OpenPAYGO Metrics help organisations reduce costs by monitoring CO2 emissions?

In addition to mitigating the initial risk perceived when adopting a PAYG model, OpenPAYGO Metrics provides manufacturers with the opportunity to generate more capital to invest in their company by better positioning them to receive CO2 credits. There exist organisations like Carbon Clear and Gold Standard which aim to track and measure the reduced amounts of CO2 released into the environment when users are able to switch to renewable energy alternatives. When CO2 credit issuing bodies are able to analyse your data they can verify the sustainable impact of the company as a whole.

Once these credits are calculated they can be issued to manufacturers in the form of subsidies that can be claimed to reduce the retail price of energy access products. In order to do this, the tokens can be exchanged against their value to larger establishments hoping to become net-zero in carbon emissions. This gives companies in the renewable energies sector more liquidity to invest in product development and it means that the overall cost of marketed products can be reduced thus increasing accessibility. Lower cost and facilitated access to sustainable energy sources move us closer to the SDG 7 goal while contributing to ongoing positive impact efforts.

OpenPAYGO Metrics is an integral part of the SolarisLab OpenPAYGO Suite along with OpenPAYGO Link and OpenPAYGO Token. These protocols have become the industry standard for distribution and manufacturing and are conceived to optimise communication. While each element has similar goals as communication protocols, they act in different and complementary ways.

Within this ecosystem, OpenPAYGO Token acts as a mechanism which generates a token to manage the PAYG status of a device. The OpenPAYGO Link is the communication protocol which allows PAYG enabled devices sharing an interface to interact with one another, for example the SHS charge controller is able to communicate with the appliance itself and the battery which operates it. OpenPAYGO Metrics fits in as the compression and structuring tool which allows that information to be processed and analysed before transmission. Each of these technologies can be featured within the same cohesive product design.

SolarisLab engineers are using industry expertise to innovate with sustainability in mind. OpenPAYGO Metrics is part of the OpenPAYGO Suite of integration developed with Solaris Offgrid led by the SolarisLab team. This coordination effort aims to create standards to facilitate the adoption of PAYGO products that will help accelerate rural or low-income communities access to life-changing amenities such as energy, water supply, health, or digital services.

The open source technology can be accessed freely in the GitHub online repository here. For more information about our integration services and how we can optimise your data management processes, contact us.

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