Powering Solar Efficiency with IT

on May 31, 2013 at 4:31 PM


There certainly has been a lot of interest in renewable sources of energy in recent years. Truth be told, it hasn’t always been a good thing considering the loud missteps witnessed by the likes of Solyndra, A123 and Fisker. However, even those who have cringed at the thought of investing in areas such as solar power may have a hard time ignoring the efficiencies being seen in the industry thanks to the evolution of solar PV software solutions (above image from Locus Energy).

The word “efficiency” is as hot as the sun itself these days but to truly become efficient, precise maximization of the sun’s heat to generate electricity needs to be more completely understood. That has me intrigued by how solar PV software is being integrated into the planning, design and installation process.

Having more information up-front and even throughout the maintenance management life-cycle could dramatically improve the way solar power is consumed, distributed and integrated into our power supply chain. I’m talking about the use of simulation software to prove economic viability of projects before they even start. This allows for more precision planning which could reduce the need for manpower and resources. It’s using software as a way to help take the unknown out of the solar PV conversation by making its behavior more tangible. This should help reduce costs and make solar PV projects a less risky investment. In fact, it’s more like going to a casino and having better odds that Black would come out at the roulette table.

While simulation software is important, software can take on more of a one point solution for managing renewable energy projects such as solar PV. In fact, software can make solar power more feasible by creating real-time data, including sensitivity analysis both on and off-grid and make that information accessible anywhere (PC, tablets, smartphones).

Calculations can now be presented in 3D graphic form, something good for engineers, installers and architects. Ultimately, creating software which can better understand the dynamic relationship between solar power and other power sources such as wind and hydro power may become a hot area considering the strong outlook Blue Phoenix has for cogeneration plants.

Today software is being developed to also offer longer-term performance trends and diagnostic tools which can be stored in the cloud. This helps lower the cost barrier typically associated with effective monitoring of PV systems. Also, real-time software solutions can be very helpful when measuring shadowing, virtual solar irradiance, solar yield analytics as well as the impact of weather patterns. Data can help monitor risk and carbon emissions reductions associated with solar PV. Thus the improved appeal of solar panels due to pricing deterioration looks very likely to continue thanks to solar PV solutions which are making power from the sun better understood and easier to monitor. This makes cleanweb investing a very hot topic!

by  Blue Phoenix