Solar Infra, a California-based manufacturer of mono andpoly-crystalline photovoltaic (PV) modules with a market reach thatcovers the Americas, Asia and Europe, has chosen 3D design softwareSolidWorks (UK) as a key development and analysis tool.
The 3D software was used in collaboration with industry partners in thedevelopment of solar panels that would increase the reach of clean,renewable energy.
One and half million engineers use SolidWorks software around the world. The software enables engineers to createvirtual models of a design concept and simulate its assembly, analyseits performance when in use, analyse its strength, generate engineeringdata and even produce photo-realistic images of the final design.
The company is distributed and supported by Cambridge-based InnovaSystems in the UK. Innova provides training services to help companiesadopt the technology more quickly.
Currently, the standard practice is to install solar panels 25 milesinland from the coast to avoid wind, humidity, and salinity exposure.Solar module placement is also limited in the context of deep mountainsnows and searing desert temperatures.
Working with Sandia National Laboratories and a DC-to-AC inverter manufacturer, Solar Infra embarked on an effort to revolutionize the solar industry through thedevelopment of the Solar Infra AC-Enabled (ACE) solar module, a ruggedmodule system with internal DC-to-AC inversion.
"The first step was choosing a design environment," said Elise Moss, amechanical engineer and consultant. "This project required iterationsthrough which my chief scientist and I would create design concepts andwork with specialists at Sandia to analyze performance within extremeenvironments. The SolidWorks integration between CAD and FEA (finiteelement analysis) was of critical importance to us."
Mark Bradford, managing director at Innova, said Solar Infra saved timeand $100,000 on the development because they could do it all insoftware. "We have seen many similar project successes in the UK", headded.
In addition to helping reduce development costs, SolidWorks helped Solar Infra realize manufacturing savings and other business efficiencies.Photorealistic renderings created in SolidWorks software even allowedSolar Infra to begin marketing prior to production.
"They were able to use renderings to create data sheets pre-prototype,which allowed them to seed the market and get the word out on thisexciting extension of solar potential. Again, this is a common benefitof using SolidWorks. It is definitely a powerful business tool as wellas world leading design tool", Mr. Bradford added.
Energy & Emissions writer for Justmeans. A media graduate with a specialization in film and TV, Antonio Pasoliniis the editor of Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for alternative energy products, news and commentary. With more than a decade’sexperience in journalism, Antonio has written on a wide range of topics, from technological breakthroughs by the brains at MIT to a trip tosustainable projects in the Amazon. One of his new projects involves aneco print magazine to be distributed from a selection of London shops.