AT&T, Petra Solar ink solar smart grid pact

AT&T will sell technology from Petra Solar, a company that makes smart grid solar systems to be installed on utility poles. AT&T is trying to bolster its smart grid efforts with utilities as it aims to grow subscribers via machine-to-machine connections.

AT&T said Tuesday that it will sell technology from Petra Solar, a company that makes smart grid solar systems to be installed on utility poles. AT&T is trying to bolster its smart grid efforts with utilities as it aims to grow subscribers via machine-to-machine connections.

Petra Solar makes systems called Utility Grade SunWave UP Series. These systems act as individual power generation stations and combine various power management technologies so utilities can better manage the grid. Petra Solar's systems connect to streetlight and utility poles and feed the grid.

In New Jersey, Petra Solar inked a $200 million deal with PSE&G to generate 40MW of power through its SunWave systems (right). Indeed, Petra Solar's systems are currently proliferating on telephone poles in the state and quickly becoming commonplace.

As these Petra Solar systems are installed, AT&T's wireless network will be used for communications, remote monitoring, automated metering as well as outage detection. AT&T is aiming to integrate its wireless services with smart grid technologies from the likes of Petra Solar to better pitch utilities business services. AT&T can also garner more machine-to-machine connections, which are viewed as the key to future growth. Sprint and Verizon have also focused on machine connections as a way to connect various sensors and the so-called Internet of things.

Here's a look at the Petra Solar communications network:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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