Thursday, September 15, 2016

How Data is Changing Solar Energy


The article, "How Data And Machine Learning Are Changing The Solar Industry” discusses how the collection of data can improve our knowledge on solar energy and ultimately help save the planet.  The focus of the article quickly shifts to the importance of machine learning, data collection and how these two tools can be used to best market solar panels.  This approach could be the solution to global pollution, and because of this many large companies are getting involved like IBM. 
I thought this article was very clear in conveying the passion major companies are developing for marketing and evolving the possibilities of solar energy.  This path will not only help stop pollution, but also lower overall living costs through the use the solar efficiency.  There are some issues the companies are facing, the main one being funding.  I strongly believe that solar energy would improve our lifestyles, but with technology comes at an expense.  The most difficult part about this ambition, would be raising funds to be able to develop these softwares and technologies that can successfully track and sort the data.  A key part of this being the ability to construct softwares that use machine learning, such as IBM has done with their artificial intelligent Watson.  Many startup companies, such as PowerScout, are beginning to raise money to develop similar softwares because in the long run the data they provide will drastically lower the expense of solar energy, but will this be enough? 
Another issue companies could encounter, is trying to convince people to purchase and invest in solar energy.  Yes, the collection of the data and the machine learning do lower the costs of items such as solar panels, but do the people actually care enough about their planet to take part in this change?  I think in addition to determining means of funding and invention, the companies need to also turn their attention to the people.  They need to market or present this plan in a way that explains it’s not only best for the planet, but best for them in lowering their living costs.  The article clearly proves the success of solar energy, but the companies need to be strategic in the way they promote this concept to their audiences. 
Finally, I think the companies working to develop this plan and really market the solar panels need to remember Moore’s Law.  All this technology they are marketing to people is going to need to be constantly updated and maintained, so they need to consider how they will go about this.  The article makes it seem like the collection of the data could be a means of avoiding the idea of Moore’s Law.  Through the data collection and analysis, these various softwares could be an answer to long lasting efficient sources of technology.  I think this concept is an incredible idea, but its not the producers of the technology I worry about, it’s if the world ready to dedicate themselves to a change this drastic?

1 comment:

  1. The topic of energy is probable one of the most talked about in today’s society. Solar energy is a great concept when it comes to energy saving costs in theory. However, solar panels are currently so expensive that is can take sometimes 20 to 30 years before a person can actually start seeing the savings. The reason that it takes that long is because the panels have to pay for themselves before they start saving consumers money. Hopefully with the push for machine learning and data collection to be added to the solar panels, someone will be able to come up with a way for the solar panels to not be so costly and make them more worthwhile in the long run. If data collection could be done, it might be able to show how much energy the solar panels are collecting on a daily basis and factor that energy into the cost of the panels to make them more affordable to consumers so they start seeing their savings earlier on instead of way down the timeline. Another potential benefit of machine learning and data collection could be an insight into how to make the solar panels more efficient than they currently are. If the solar panels were more efficient than the costs of the panels would also be less costly and more beneficial in terms of energy savings.

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