Sunrun has filed a patent for an optimization engine that determines the optimal configuration for a solar power system on a target surface. The engine constructs spans on the surface and populates them with solar modules, aligning them to form an array. By generating different spans with different module types and orientations, the engine identifies the best configuration. GlobalData’s report on Sunrun gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData s company profile on Sunrun, AI assisted CAD was a key innovation area identified from patents. Sunrun's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Optimization engine for configuring solar power system placement

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Sunrun Inc

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230179143A1) describes a computer-implemented method for determining the configuration of a solar power system projected onto a target surface. The method involves constructing an alignment axis across the target surface and projecting two spans parallel to the alignment axis. The first span is populated with a set of solar modules, and the second span is populated with another set of solar modules. The second set of solar modules is then aligned with the first set to form a solar module array.

The alignment axis is constructed by identifying a vertex of a boundary associated with the target surface and projecting the axis across the vertex either horizontally or vertically. Each solar module in both sets can be disposed in either a portrait or landscape orientation.

To align the second set of solar modules with the first set, it is determined if the first set has a greater number of solar modules. Each solar module in the second set is then positioned to have at least one side collinear with a different solar module in the first set.

The method also includes the option of projecting a third span parallel to the alignment axis and populating it with a third set of solar modules. Each solar module in the third set is positioned to have at least one side collinear with a different solar module in the second set.

Additionally, the method involves identifying the first solar module array, which includes the first and second sets of solar modules, and generating a performance estimate for this array. The performance estimate takes into account factors such as the location and orientation of the target surface, the type of solar modules used, the utility rate corresponding to the location, the amount of irradiance and shading, historical weather data, and power flow simulators that consider electrical wiring and topology.

This patent presents a computer-implemented method that offers a systematic approach to determining the configuration of a solar power system on a target surface. By aligning and positioning solar modules in a specific manner, the method aims to optimize the performance of the solar module array. The inclusion of various factors in the performance estimate allows for a more accurate assessment of the system's efficiency and potential output.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies