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SolidWorks enables the development of a new generation of solar panels

solar pannel

Published: 21st February 2011.

Leading 3D design software SolidWorks is used for the successful development of a new generation of Solar Panel.

US based Solar Infra Inc have announced that they chose 3D design software SolidWorks as a key development and analysis tool whilst collaborating with industry partners in the development of solar panels that would extend the reach of clean, renewable energy.

SolidWorks is a leading 3D design software that is used over one and a half million engineers around the world. SolidWorks not only enables engineers to create virtual models of a design concept but can also simulate its assembly, analyse its performance when in use, analyse it’s strength, generate engineering data and even produce photo-realistic images of the final design.

Until now, standard solar arrays have usually only been installed 25 miles inland from the coast because of wind, humidity, and salinity exposure. Deep mountain snows and searing desert temperatures have also limit solar module placement. Working with Sandia National Laboratories and a DC-to-AC inverter manufacturer, the California company embarked on an effort to revolutionize the solar industry through the development of the Solar Infra AC-Enabled (ACE) solar module, a rugged module system with internal DC-to-AC inversion.

"The first step was choosing a design environment," said Elise Moss, Mechanical Engineer. “This project required iterations through which my chief scientist and I would create design concepts and work with specialists at Sandia to analyze performance within extreme environments. The SolidWorks integration between CAD and FEA (finite element analysis) was of critical importance to us."

SolidWorks is distributed and supported by Cambridge based Innova Systems in the UK. Innova also provide extensive training services, helping companies adopt the technology quickly and effectively.

“This US based company was able to save time and money during development because they could do it all in software, using simulation to test their concepts instead of building prototypes,” said Mark Bradford, Managing Director at Innova. “Using this approach, they estimated that they easily saved $100,000 on the development of their new product, we have seen many similar project successes in the UK.”

In addition to helping reduce development costs, SolidWorks solutions help Solar Infra realize manufacturing savings and other business efficiencies. Using photorealistic renderings created in SolidWorks software allowed Solar 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 this exciting extension of solar potential. Again, this is a common benefit of using SolidWorks. It is definitely a powerful business tool as well as world leading design tool.”

About Innova Systems
Innova is the leading UK distributor of SolidWorks, an advanced 3D Mechanical CAD system that enables engineers to rapidly develop and refine ideas to create innovative products. By combining SolidWorks with Innova Systems’ expertise, training facilities and commitment to support customers, Innova is helping companies across the UK to significantly change and improve the way new products are created.


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