LENS is a Dutch company specializing in smart energy. LENS supplies innovative turn-key sustainability projects to residents with shared roofs. LENS is the inventor and sole supplier of Herman the Solar Power Distributor. Today their team of 26 people is responsible for thousands of intelligent solar systems installed on the roofs of the houses across the country. LENS is more than just an energy service provider. In their unique platform for Solar Flow distribution, called HERMAN, they not only take care of the connectivity but also the technical, legal, financial and even communication procedures, providing holistic service for the housing cooperative and assist local households in their journey of becoming more sustainable.

Becoming sustainable is extremely important today when the topic of green energy is hot across the globe. For example, EU is running multiple projects, subsidizing the use of green energy, as their target is to make sure that by 2020, 20% of the energy consumption would be coming from the renewable source. Unfortunately, Eurostat 2015 data points out that the Netherlands lack behind in this initiative today. Only 5,8% of Dutch energy is coming from the renewable sources, while the same number in the leader in this area, Sweden, is already over 50%. This creates a great opportunity for companies like LENS, helping local households receiving a better Energy Index. With a higher demand for their offerings, LENS was looking for a solution ensuring a good overview of their connected solar panels across the Netherlands. It was not until they reached ELIOT, a company specializing in IoT, who in cooperation with Tele2 IoT that they could develop a perfect solution for them, giving the overview they were looking for.

Tele2 IoT and Eliot – making IoT happen

“Selling the solutions for green energy is something we enjoy, as it brings the benefits for all the counter parties,” – says Mark van Deijl, Project Manager for SDE & IT at LENS. LENS sustainable energy solutions are very attractive, as they help the housing cooperative to meet their sustainability targets and to get the desired governmental subsidies while the inhabitants of the house can enjoy lower energy bills and switch to green energy. “Once there is a buy-in from the owners of the buildings and the renters, the rest is a question of technology,”- says Mark van Deijl. LENS Herman solution is one of a kind application for solar panels, which gives them a serious advantage on the Dutch market. Using Tele2 2CONTROL platform, based on Cisco Jasper Control Center 7.0 the gateways installed on the roofs of the houses are consolidating the data from the solar panels and then sending it to the user interface. The SIM cards installed in the gateways are using the local roaming solution, selecting the network with the best signal in the area, which ensures reliable connectivity regardless of the location of the solar panels. The security of the solution is ensured by using private APN, and 2CONTROL’s whitelisting, which is extremely important. The main concerns relating to fraud and privacy are addressed by this solution. Thanks to Tele2 IoT SIM cards, LENS gateway does not have to rely on the household’s Wi-Fi or LAN anymore. This is extremely important in the light of the recent scandal with several inverter brands on the Dutch market, who’s monitoring solution was hacked because it was connected to Wi-Fi.

Today LENS is enjoying the benefits of their connected solution. Not only do they have an overview of all their solar panels across the country, but also now the team can do remote diagnostics, for some basic features, instead of sending of the service crew. Before the implementation of this particular solution LENS estimated that approximately 1000 hours a year could be overspent by their teams for troubleshooting the connectivity. Hours lost because of household internet settings changes, something unacceptable for a small organization such as LENS´s. Now in case of a connectivity issue, they receive an alert, and the connectivity troubleshooting can be performed in the 2CONTROL self-service portal. Another important aspect, why LENS is using a connected solution, is that it gives the required flexibility. Today, LENS is able to redirect the solar-generated electricity only to the selected apartments in the household, who have agreed to participate.

Looking into the future of green energy

“We have had a very good experience working together with Eliot and Tele2 IoT, who have understood our needs and were instrumental in connecting our assets,” – says Mark Van Deijl. “The representatives from both organizations were very professional and transparent throughout the process of implementing the solution, something that was extremely important for us. Tele2 IoT and Eliot have helped us on our journey of democratizing sustainable energy, and we would really recommend them to any company looking into ways of connecting their assets.,” – summarizes Mark Van Deijl.

In the future LENS is going to continue to deliver green energy to the Dutch households. The plan is currently to install 100 000 solar panels by 2022 in the Amsterdam Suburban areas. Having collected a lot of data, in the forthcoming years LENS will be able to predict when exactly to perform the maintenance of the solar panels. With the development of their SMART GRID LENS is preparing for the power distribution of the future which will be enabled by the opportunities of IoT.