- Digital methods can help simplify testing and developments for solar panel technologies.
- Developers can use digital simulation to make virtual setups and compare them to real setups.
- Field tests are now underway and we might soon have digital solar panel technologies.
It is without a doubt that the solar industry is thriving right now and might even continue to do so in the next few years given its current rate in advancements. Part of this rapid progress owes thanks to the fact that the technological advancements for solar energy have also progressed quite significantly over the past few decades and continue to do so.
This progress even came to a point where the cost of solar panels are quickly dropping and have been more affordable now compared to the past five years. One could wonder how else can the solar industry can proceed even further than where it is right now. The answer is right in front of our eyes, digitalization.
Our smartphones, computers, and usually most digital devices can contribute to how solar energy is pushing forward in development. Paired with the proper programs and math, it could even be viable to predict and establish some setups before they are even built. Think of a digital simulation for how a solar panel setup will perform.
Cost cutting with the “Digital Twins”
Much of the application of digital methods for the solar industry is for cost-cutting purposes. This way, the cost of solar panels and other equipment will be reduced further. This means for residents and business owners, solar panels might become even more affordable, while for power plants, operating and maintenance costs and might become less taxing.
The way solar developers test this out is by using a method called “Digital Twins” where an operational simulation is based on a virtual replica and operating profile data, hence “twins.” Both are utilized to test out how solar panel setups perform under certain conditions and how these performances can further be improved.
The result is better efficiency for panels through low-cost testing using virtual replicas. This essentially eliminates the use of actual test subjects and setups which can be expensive. The performance of the healthy and ideal digital simulation will then be compared with real-time assets to check for any deviations to performance, which will then be addressed quickly.
Less damage, more production
The digital method of monitoring and predictive measure essentially improve the overall production of a particular solar panel setup. Used correctly, digital programs connected to the solar panels setups can warn operators of potential production problems as well as predicted outputs for electricity.
Consequently, the operators and maintenance officers for these panels would then be able to make adjustments, do some checkups, or plan repairs ahead of time in order to maximize electricity production. Additionally, the digital simulations can also be used to check which is the most optimal setup available based on real-life physics and math translated into digital platforms.
For now, though, digitalization’s role for the solar industry might be limited to power plants and solar farms currently since these require intensive maintenance compared to residential or small business units. Meanwhile, digitalization is also a big help for the engineers and developers of solar panel technologies, helping them work faster and develop better equipment.
Still, it is not too far-fetched to expect that sometime in the near future, digitalization may be widespread and viable enough to have a proper implementation for residential setups. Who would not want to be able to plan out solar panel setups using their smartphones or computers? Then there could also be a way to control your solar panels with a tap on a screen. We certainly are looking forward to this kind of future.