Creative5 Enhances Traditional Solar Panel Monitoring on AWS


Creative5 built its solar energy management solution on AWS to leverage cloud-native agility in development and limitless scaling for its products. Based in Taiwan, Creative5 provides integrated IoT hardware and software solutions to solar energy providers. The company is using AWS IoT Core to connect legacy solar panels to the internet, AWS Lambda for serverless integrations, and Amazon Lightsail for online monitoring dashboards.

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AWS provides reliable cloud infrastructure and mature IoT solutions that we can integrate with other technology to scale and grow our business."

Alvin ChenCEO, Creative5

Solar power has been gaining traction for many years in Japan as a more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. However, many energy companies use legacy solar equipment, which is difficult to monitor and maintain as the panels have no network or internet capabilities. Creative5 is a Taiwan-based cloud energy solution company that facilitates the monitoring of solar installations using its internet of things (IoT)-enabled software as a service (SaaS).

Reducing Manual Maintenance with a Cloud-Based Solution

Creative5’s primary shareholder, Japan-based West Holdings Corp., designs, operates, and maintains solar photovoltaic systems for power generation in homes and businesses. Among these is a 22-megawatt solar farm powering Amazon’s data center in Japan. Amazon has pledged to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2025, and organizations such as Creative5 are helping Amazon to deliver on this promise. 

West Holdings was seeking a cloud-based solution from Creative5 to flexibly monitor its legacy solar hardware and enable remote control in response to energy demand. Until then, engineers had to physically visit the company’s solar energy storage systems to check equipment.

Integrated Software for Solar Energy Management

Creative5 was born on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, using the platform to develop its solution for solar energy management and monitoring. “AWS provides reliable cloud infrastructure and mature IoT solutions that we can integrate with other technology to scale and grow our business,” says Alvin Chen, chief executive officer at Creative5. The startup has been growing rapidly and projects fivefold growth in 2021, its third year of operations.

Creative5 offers a demand response enabling device (DRED) that facilitates two-way communication from solar plants, such as those held by West Holdings and major power companies throughout Japan. DRED provides a method by which power companies can regulate the amount of power devices in their network consume, to avoid overutilization of the electric grid that can lead to energy glitches or blackouts. 

The startup’s cloud-based solution has gained DRED certification in Japan, which allows West Holdings to follow the demand-response schedule set by major power companies. This facilitates West Holdings to match power supply more closely with demand. Creative5’s smart gateway device communicates with AWS IoT Core, which receives and transforms data through AWS Lambda serverless integrations. Data is sent to a database in Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), which connects to a web application hosted in Amazon Lightsail. West Holdings then accesses an online dashboard to monitor a range of factors in real time at its solar installations. 

Saving Cost and Promoting Efficiency

By using Creative5’s DRED solution, energy providers can immediately detect any issues with their solar inverters or energy storage systems and initiate or shut down energy charging systems remotely rather than manually. 

“Our customers are happy because they no longer need to send engineers out for routine maintenance or wait until bimonthly power readings are carried out to access data on energy usage,” explains Chen. “They’re saving money and becoming more efficient in troubleshooting problems, rather than waiting two months for bills to be issued and losing money during that period.” In a bid to become a more agile energy provider supported by cloud technology, West Holdings plans to roll out Creative5’s demand-response system in phases across its legacy solar hardware. 

Adopting ML for Value-Added Analytics

Creative5 consulted extensively with AWS in designing its IoT demand-response solution. The business is currently adopting managed services on AWS such as Amazon SageMaker to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into its solution. Potential use cases include AI-powered predictions on optimum maintenance windows for solar panels or proactive maintenance alerts. 

Chen is also working to introduce Creative5’s DRED solution to a wider audience in the United States and Europe via AWS Marketplace. He concludes, “AWS has been a great resource for us as a startup. We can design new IoT products and integrate with a range of technologies quickly and seamlessly.”
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About Creative5

Creative5 offers an integrated hardware and software solution for solar energy management. Its demand response enabling device uses cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) technology to enable two-way communication between power plants and major power companies in Japan.

Benefits of AWS

  • Scales infrastructure to support 5x annual growth
  • Provides real-time visibility into data from solar panels
  • Saves cost and effort by avoiding manual equipment checks
  • Facilitates data collection and future analysis of big data
  • Integrates modern technologies with ease

AWS Services Used

AWS IoT Core

Easily and securely connect devices to the cloud

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AWS Lambda

Run code without thinking about servers or clusters

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Amazon Lightsail

Build applications and websites fast with low-cost, pre-configured cloud resources

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