Not scaling is losing - Why scalability is crucial for energy IoT

Scalability describes the ability of a system to adapt to growing requirements in terms of hardware and software performance. In other words: Growth must be possible without functional restrictions. The energy market is developing rapidly and the number of installed, decentralized energy end devices is increasing every day. As a company, it is crucial not to miss the boat here. Not scaling means losing. In this blog, we explain how Kiwigrid ensures scalability.

Why scalability is crucial

The success of the energy transition not only requires the expansion of decentralized end devices such as PV systems and heat pumps, but also the connection of these devices to enable them to generate and consume electricity cost-effectively and in line with the grid. The more end devices companies can install for end customers, the faster these companies can grow and assert themselves against the competition. However, as more and more end devices are delivered to end customers from different regions with different PV forecasts and connected to other energy devices, the amount of data that needs to be collected, stored and processed also increases. To deal with this exponentially growing amount of data and ensure that all processes run smoothly, a platform with the appropriate bandwidth, processing power and storage capacity is needed. KiwiOS is designed to provide this scaling.

"We don't want our customers to worry, whether they are bringing 500 or 5000 energy managers onto the market. If a customer of ours plans to ship several thousand energy managers at once to end customers, our platform is prepared to manage this immense amount of data." - David Rabe, VP Platform & Technology at Kiwigrid

Scalability can also be critical when unforeseen circumstances arise (e.g., a grid failure):

"If the internet goes down in a certain region due to a disruption from the internet provider, this can lead to a sudden inaccessibility of 5,000 energy managers that are installed at end customers' sites in the affected area. The moment the Internet is back up, the data from all these energy managers comes back to the platform at once. Scalability is a central issue for us, which is why our platform is ready for such cases." - Manuel Hoffmann, System Architect

How Kiwigrid guarantees scalability

1. Migration to Google Cloud

Kiwigrid's platform is built on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This has major advantages, especially with regard to the scalability of the platform. Technologies which have been used millions of times and have been error-tested are used, guaranteeing scalability and security. The more customers there are on the platform, the more feedback can be processed and implemented directly. This way, the platform is constantly optimized.

2. Microservice architecture

Kiwigrid's system is based on a microservice infrastructure. This means that individual functionalities are provided by many small services (microservices). For example, the functionality "Create user" is its own microservice and "Manage user" is another. The counterpart to a microservice architecture would be a classic software monolith, where these components would be integrated within one large service. The advantage of microservices is that the services can be further developed and maintained independently of each other if errors occur. This allows small teams to work separately and independently on specific components. This means that there are no bottlenecks, speed is increased and so is scalability. A microservice architecture also contributes to the uncomplicated management of updates. Updates can be performed individually for the affected services without involving the entire system.

3. Realistic growth forecasts

In view of the promising developments in the energy market, Kiwigrid anticipates a large demand for energy IoT and consequently large growth over the course of the next few years. Market analyses are used to create the most realistic growth forecasts possible and the platform's capabilities are adapted accordingly. Growth of well over 100 percent per year is predicted for the coming years. Not only is the platform being prepared for this growth on the software side, but on the hardware side it is also being ensured that sufficient energy managers can be built and delivered even when demand is high.

To keep up in the energy market, companies need to be particularly fast and adaptable (see also: Why speed matters in Energy-IoT), while also being equipped for rapid growth and exponentially increasing demand. Those who want to ensure scalability in the field of energy management should build on a proven IoT platform that is designed to process the ever-growing volumes of data and cope with the associated complexity.


Kiwigrid's IoT platform enables you to scale your energy business at record speed. Follow us on LinkedIn for more news!