solar energy

Nemoi: Mapping potential adaptors of distributed renewable energy in Santander

Team: Nemoi

Nemoi experiment's intent is in developing an interactive online renewables energy platform where Santander citizens will meet. The platform preliminarily deploys a solar energy map of Santander at almost real time. Once the platform is fully operative, anyone (domestic individual, a group of individual users or small/medium enterprises (SME) users) will be able to check the renewable energy potential of their rooftops. An algorithm will provide an estimation of the solar energy resource over the year, along with the estimated investment for the efficient (cost minimising) combination of solar panel and battery system, given the location of the roof.

The Team

The team of Nemoi is made up of a multidisciplinary group of friends from University days, all enthusiastic about technology. The team encompasses years of professional and research experience in computer science, physics, engineering and economics.


1. Co-creation with public authorities
Gathering historical data and finding suitable locations for the sensors network expansion were critical during the experiment. Our experiment relied on historical sensors data to build a map with enough granularity to provide site-specific estimations of the potential solar resources available. Unfortunately, the data was not available due to technical problems, however Nemoi was able to overcome this issue through co-creation activities with public authorities that helped us find suitable solutions.

  • Maritime Museum of Cantabrico
    The Maritime Museum of Cantábrico (Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico) assisted Nemoi to find a suitable location for one of the sensors at the Museum and supported the installation process.
  • Spanish National Metheorogical Agency - Agencia Estatal de Meterología (AEMET)
    The Spanish National Metheorogical Agency/Agencia Estatal de Meterología (AEMET) in Cantabria, has kindly collaborated with Nemoi during the course of the experiment. AEMET has been a key organisation in this experiment, since they provided the historical data needed, unavailable from OrganiCity, to construct a reliable estimation of the solar energy in the city of Santander. AEMT also kindly provided support on the sensors installation. We believed this is a great example of co- creation, as they were vital to the experiment.
  • Santander City Council
    Santander City Council Innovation Office has kindly cooperated with this project and is helping Nemoi to give visibility to our platform in the relevant upcoming events in Santander. The Innovation office also supported Nemoi to find suitable locations and ease administrative procedures for the installation process. During the engagement, the interaction and feedback from the Innovation Office was highly productive and Nemoi is currently working on a proposal to develop an innovative system for real-time UV radiation analysis for local beaches so citizens can be aware of radiation levels while sunbathing.

2. Sensors installation part 1
A sensor was installed on the top of the main tower at the Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico (MMC). (Images: top - Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico location in Santander, bottom - Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico installation point in Santander.)

3. Sensors installation part 2
An additional sensor was installed on the top of Ribalaygua Building in Santander in order to improve the heat map resolution and further expand OrganiCity sensors network. The location was kindly provided by the City Council Innovation Office.
(Images: top - Ribalaygua building location in Santander, bottom - Ribalaygua building installation point in Santander.)

4. Collecting data from sensors
As a result of several technical problems experienced, Nemoi developed an in-house communication device to send the data from the stations in the course of the experiment. The tool was a raspberry board based device which is connected to the sensors data-logger to send the data over either via WiFi or GMT to the Nemoi server.

5. Creating heat maps from data
The solar radiation state is displayed over the Santander map in the form of a heatmap. The plot is updated every 30 minutes with the input information coming from 2 different sources: the sensor of OrganCity and the meteorological stations installed by us. (Image: heat map algorithm)

6. Creating map calculator and financial analysis algorithm
The app uses a single input from AEMET, through the AEMET API which provides annual solar data available. The platform has implemented its annual solar vector averaged over the previous years in Santander, as is the only source of solar characterisation available. Nemoi also developed an algorithm that estimates the cost minimising combination of domestic batteries and solar panels given the location of your roof and your electricity use, and assess the potential savings you may get on your electricity bill. (Image: Map calculator analysis)

Experiment outcome

Integration and expansion of OrganiCity meteorological sensor network: Nemoi has successfully integrated 2 fully equipped meteorological stations in key points of the town that can potentially monitor different meteorological parameters, such us strength and direction of wind, solar radiation, rain, and can also incorporate UV sensors as well as other parameters of interest. Furthermore, we have developed our own communication protocol to send the data from the sensors via WiFi or GTM through a robust and economic Rasperry Pi board. In the future, other experimenters could use the data collected to many possible applications in urban renewable energy, drone traffic, research on pollution propagation etc.

(Images: top - Meteorological station in the Maritime Museum of Cantrabrico; Bottom - Sensors photos in Ribalaygua building and MMC, respectively.)

A heatmap app of solar radiation: Nemoi has developed a python-based algorithm to plot the solar radiation as a heatmap over a google maps interface of the town. In user-friendly and intuitive way, the user can see the status of the parameters over the town layout, which allows a quick identification of the areas where the parameter is higher or lower. (Images: Heatmaps screenshot top - absolute value; bottom - relative value.)

The FV+battery system calculator: Nemoi has launched a platform to estimate the cost minimising combination of FV, Battery or a hybrid system FV+Battery that a user can install in their roof, given the user’s consumption profile and power capacity contracted as well as the potential savings in the electricity bill, using historical solar radiation data from AEMET. (Image: My map calculator screenshot)

Lessons learned

  1. Data is an issue – Develop contingency plans
    Nemoi encountered a major issue with data availability due to technical problems that prevented us from carrying out the initial proposed experimentation process. Contingency plans were developed and proved crucial in dealing with these issues.
  2. Co-creation does have a great impact – Work on engagement
    As a result of engagement with local authorities using the OrganiCity experiment framework, we received a great feedback that helped Nemoi grow substantially. The collaborative approach of the OrganiCity framework was a key to this. We learned that 'knock and many doors will open'.
  3. OrganiCity network works – Leverage all your resources
    OrganiCity platform is very powerful and date rich. Utilising the platform unlocked many potential applications for our experiment and helped us overcome problems along the way.

Nemoi Website

What happened & what's next?

  • The experiment allowed Nemoi to acquire hands-on experience and develop a high resolution network of wind and solar resources in Santander. Nemoi intends to further leverage these resources, aiming at two particular areas:
    1. UV exposure prevention.
    2. Santander as a ‘test bed’ town in the drone sector.
  • UV radiation is an important parameter in a town such as Santander, with beaches as one of the main attractions. Nemoi experiment created a high resolution sensors network to provide almost real-time updates of the UV radiation status that could potentially be utilised for citizens.
    The City Council and cancer prevention leaders have expressed interest in this proposal that could serve to raise awareness about exposure to the sun and skin cancer. Nemoi is currently developing an initiative for launching an app so citizens can be aware of radiation levels while sunbathing, in collaboration with Santander City Council. 
  • Leveraging on the experiment experience, we are currently developing a high-resolution wind conditions map that could put Santander in an advantaged position as a test-bed town for drone technology with a valuable tool to visualise the risky areas for drones and all the detailed data that could be used to automate route calculations. We believe our OrganiCity experiment was a great starting point for Nemoi to explore the potential to leverage a high resolution weather sensors network for drone traffic management. 
  • Nemoi is planning to leverage this expertise and become a company in 2018 with the purpose of developing drone traffic software. We have a support of the most important drone company in Cantabria and will explore the potential synergies with public authorities during the next open calls experiment for placing Santander as drone traffic benchmark town.
t_footer(); ?>