Indoor Solar: Powering A Bluetooth Beacon

Posted on 10/05/2018 at 12:00 by Samuel Jones


Indoor Solar Powering A Bluetooth Beacon Title Graphic

Have you ever returned home from grocery shopping and realized you forgot something?


Imagine walking through the store and getting a notification on your phone as you walk by something on your grocery list.


Bluetooth beacon technology could make this happen.


Beacons are like normal Bluetooth devices except they are stuck in advertising mode and never actually connect to another device.


They continually broadcast their unique ID number (UUID) which may contain information about their physical location, the URL to a website, or even data from a sensor.


Smart devices can detect these beacons and react to the information they find in the UUID.


Beacons don’t waste power maintaining a connection, are one of the lowest power wireless protocols available and ideal candidates for indoor solar.


Even in dimly lit environments, these devices can be powered with a small amount of PowerFilm’s indoor optimized solar material.



As part of our Indoor Solar Development Kit demos, we created the above video of a Nordic BLE Beacon being powered with our Solar Development Kit (DEV-BASIC).


Nordic provides a smartphone app that is able to interact with the beacon. The app detects the beacon and will display an image or open a URL when the phone is within a chosen range based on signal strength.


The environment in the video was about 1000 lux. At this light level, the LL200-3-37 panel provides more than enough power to run the beacon. In fact, this same setup was tested down to 200 lux using even less solar.


The beacon used stock settings, but adjusting the broadcast range, increasing advertising period, and regular sleeping could make this device even lower power.


The Solar Development Kit makes prototyping and experimenting with indoor solar simple. Just plug and play.


It handles the energy harvesting, storage and provides a regulated adjustable output to power external devices.


Beacons will play a significant role in the emerging IoT world. To make these new systems sustainable we need to find ways to extend battery life or replace the battery completely.


Energy harvesting, especially ambient light collection, can provide the power needed to maintain these systems indefinitely.


PowerFilm can work with you to develop the optimal solar solution for your application.  

Contact us or leave a comment below and let’s talk about your needs.


Categories: Internet of Things