Efficient solar panel operation requires more than excellent photovoltaic cells. It also requires software to support operation of the panel installation, to achieve maximum energy production and output. Some of these algorithms support technology such as maximum power point tracking (MPPT), which is a high-frequency DC to DC converter. It takes DC from the solar panel, converts it into high frequency AC and then back to DC for the receiving battery. They feature microprocessors with firmware. Such devices are now sufficiently inexpensive for even smaller solar installations. The operation of such devices can be improved through better algorithms, particularly those involving AI.
Software is also important for panel tracking, in which a panel is physically moved, for example through an adjusted tilt angle to achieve maximum energy efficiency, for example due to changing seasons. Software for monitoring the performance of solar panels is another key area.
Other areas of software for solar power generation relate to management of solar panel assets in the field and design of new solar panel installations.
The application of intelligent software to this area is increasing rapidly, as “smart solar”. The global smart solar market is projected to reach USD 13.33 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 9.95%1.
Solar panel CAGR overall: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/at-25-7-cagr-solar-panels-market-size-expected-to-reach-usd-902-55-bn-globally-by-2028--says-brandessence-market-research-301460328.html
Solar panel management software can also be inserted as firmware into solar components, such as microinverters. Micro-inverters support optimal solar panel energy generation through management of MPPT (maximum power point tracking), which helps to maintain efficient power generation even in cloudy conditions, for example2.
Smart microinverters use ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) and other chip-based algorithms to obtain even greater power generation efficiency: https://enphase.com/installers/microinverters.
CAGR for solar microinverters: https://www.imarcgroup.com/solar-microinverter-market
Software-based grid management solutions that support feeding power from renewable sources to the AC grid are also becoming increasingly important: https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2020/05/smarter-grid-solutions-software-helps-utilities-connect-solar-to-the-grid/. See also (for CAGR): https://www.globenewswire.com/fr/news-release/2021/04/20/2213622/0/en/Grid-Connected-PV-Systems-Market-to-Exhibit-15-CAGR-by-2027-Market-Research-Future-MRFR.html.
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"The global smart solar market size was USD 8.52 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 13.33 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 9.95% during the forecast period." Fortune Business Insights. (2020). https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/smart-solar-market-103762.
"Advantages and Disadvantages of Microinverters." The Baker Blog. https://bakerhomeenergy.com/blog/2016-06-14/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-microinverters/