Solar energy industry is one of the fastest developing industries in the world. The global solar power market continues to grow rapidly and many energy experts believe that solar power will eventually become the most important energy source in the world.
Many countries have already started planning large-scale solar power plants spanning several square kilometers. Since these solar power plants are connected with very high construction costs they need to be very carefully planned.
There are many different factors that need to be considered prior to building solar power plants: customer specifications, regulations, subsidy programs, weather, climate, topography and location, access to road, etc.
The current planning of solar power plants involves engineers using CAD programs and often requires repeated comparing of different concepts with one another, with all these factors included. This procedure is very time-consuming and this is the reason why science is already working on possible software solutions that would speed up the process.
Fraunhofer researchers, working with Siemens Energy Photovoltaics, have already announced that they developed software that simplifies conceptual design for solar power plants. Dr. Ingmar Schüle pointed out that this software uses algorithms that „provide engineers with several hundred different plant designs in a single operation. It takes less than a minute of computation time.“
The cost estimates and income calculations are included into this software and this should provide engineers the best possible support for planning the most cost-competitive solar power systems. This software will be publicly presented at Intersolar Europe trade fair in Munich, June 13-15, 2012.