It is a new year, and we are thankful for the many opportunities we see it bring, but we also continue looking back to those who were impacted by the flooding that has occurred in southern BC late last year. It is hard to hear about families losing their homes and livelihoods within minutes, whether that be to flood, fire, or other natural disasters. Events like these remind us of how important it is for us to work together towards preserving the planet and improving environmental sustainability.

Continuing on from last year, our first Meet & Greet of 2022 will look at measuring rain through precipitation sensors and monitors. These precipitation measurement tools used in conjunction with other sensor data help analysts characterize the environment from different perspectives.

Rain: Good or bad? Well … It depends.

As evidenced by the recent flooding, monthly means don’t really speak to the positive or negative impact that rain can have. How much rain and when it happens is much more informative. On operational solar projects, lack of flood control could lead to devastating damages to the assets. For wind projects, where their impacts on bats have been a point of concern, bat activity is measured using frequency-focused microphone systems. However, these systems also pick up noise produced by rain, compromising the quality of data. That said, knowing when it rains is important for isolating out the affected data.

Practical aspects directly impacting the projects can also benefit from understanding when and how much it rains. For wind projects, the effects of rainfall can potentially influence turbine design considerations such as foundation design, site drainage, and even determining the optimal tower orientation of the door at the base of the turbine, let alone operational efficiency aspects like blade cleaning requirements. With bugs, smog, pollen, dust and other debris impacting the blades and potentially causing leading-edge erosion, a condition monitoring and maintenance campaign should include precipitation measurement understanding water ingress and potential spalling due to freezing and wet weather.

On the other hand, solar modules require periodic cleaning to maximize energy production efficiency. In cases like these, rainy weather may mean lower productivity, but coordinated labour with the rain will reduce costs such as the water consumption and labour necessary to keep the glass clean during dusty summers and high pollen seasons alike.

Other applications in ecological sustainability

Apart from just being a great tool for renewable energy projects, precipitation sensors and monitors can also help promote sustainable agricultural practices, manage golf course maintenance, and a wide variety of smart, data-driven operations. For example, precipitation sensors can be integrated into smart irrigation systems, potentially creating a triple-win situation: longer lifespan of the sprinkler system, better water conservation, and of course, happier plants!

Excited to know how precipitation sensors and monitors can help achieve your goals? Don’t hesitate to contact us!