Sweet Answer from Solar Mango: (updated Jul 2015)
At first sight, the solar power sector appears to be a domain to which only engineers from electrical and mechanical engineering can make significant contributions.
This is not entirely true. Opportunities exist for civil and construction engineers, environmental engineers, mechatronics engineers, and yes, also software engineers!
Software & IT professionals are having an increasingly important role to play in the solar energy, especially solar power plant sector – as enormous amounts of solar power gets added, there are significant requirements arising for monitoring and analytics of these assets.
Specific opportunities for IT & software professionals in solar energy include:
- Solar power plant design software – this is a fast growing need in the industry. Niche solutions within this category could include shading analysis software, PV array simulation software, etc. However, this will require domain knowledge of solar power plants, and hence technology providers might need to work with solar industry domain specialists for these solutions
- Developing monitoring and analytics solutions for rooftop and MW scale solar power plants
- Developing extensions of analytics and monitoring solutions to mobiles and wearables
- Software and algorithms for the solar inverters, components that are playing increasingly sophisticated roles.
- Solar power plant project management software – Large solar farms take a few months to complete and could require a number of steps and activities, similar to many construction projects. Tweaks to existing project management solutions could make them ideally suited to solar power plant projects.
- Integrating solar into a number of electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets so that these could be partially or fully powered by solar.
- An emerging opportunity could be implementation of large marketing and ecommerce web sites for rooftop solar solution providers (especially those targeting the residential segment) and for off-grid solar products
With solar growing at a hectic pace worldwide, and as it gets integrated into a number of products – in our homes, in our electronics, and even in our clothes and accessories such as bags, the information technology and software solutions needed for these would continue to increase too.
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