Embedded database optimizes Azuray Technologies solar power DC/DC converters

Azuray Technologies will include McObject’s eXtremeDB Fusion embedded database system in its communications gateway, a Linux-based device for solar power optimization. Azuray’s solar DC to DC converters for “smart” solar panels increase energy harvest up to 25%.

January 18, 2011 — McObject announced that Azuray Technologies, solar power electronics company, will include McObject’s eXtremeDB Fusion embedded database system in its communications gateway, a Linux-based device for solar power optimization. Azuray’s solar DC to DC converters for “smart” solar panels make solar power generation more cost effective by increasing energy harvest up to 25%.

McObject’s database plays a key role in the solution’s yield-enhancing capabilities, as well as in Azuray’s key safety and user interface features. “Azuray needed a small, fast embedded database management system (DBMS) in our communications gateway and we considered meeting that need with internally developed code. However, we determined building a DBMS from scratch would not be as cost effective as using eXtremeDB Fusion,” said Vinny DiTommaso, VP of engineering.

“Writing a database is a lengthy and expensive undertaking,” said Ken Schumm, senior software architect at Azuray Technologies, which estimates that they saved 6 programmer months by opting for the eXtremeDB Fusion.

eXtremeDB Fusion has a small database code size (approximately 150K). This minimizes the amount of RAM and flash memory required on each communications gateway, resulting in a lower per-unit manufacturing cost.

With market interest in solar power increasing, manufacturers of photovoltaic (PV) panels are focusing on distributed electronics to increase solar energy generation efficiency and generate more power from the sunshine that hits the panel. A potential limitation in this type of energy generation is that when just one solar panel’s productivity is hindered — by shade, mismatch and other obstructions — the decrease in power generation is multiplied across multiple panels. Azuray’s maximum power point tracking (MPPT) DC to DC converter technology uses embedded software to offset the effect of these environmental conditions and increase the amount of solar energy generated.

When Azuray’s engineers evaluated database systems for the gateway, requirements included small code size, transactions (in which multiple updates are grouped and either succeed, or fail, as a unit), and support for flash memory storage. eXtremeDB Fusion met these needs, and offered two other characteristics that made it “ideal for a deeply embedded application” such as the gateway, Schumm said.

First, eXtremeDB Fusion offers hybrid storage: different record types can be designated for storage in RAM or on persistent media (flash, in this case). Some of the gateway’s data, particularly on solar panel performance, is inherently transient. Storing it in memory reduces wear on the flash device.

Second, the gateway applications do not need the database server mechanism that is part-and-parcel of many DBMSs. eXtremeDB forgoes client/server architecture, instead offering an in-process model in which database functions are embedded directly in application code. Azuray’s gateway gains performance, and reduces memory and CPU demands, by eliminating inter-process communication and other client/server overhead, Schumm said.

Azuray Technologies Inc. serves the distributed solar electronics sector, designing solar power electronics that increase the energy harvested and reduce costs of solar PV systems. For more information, visit www.azuraytech.com.

McObject offers data management technology that makes applications and devices smarter, more reliable and more cost-effective to develop and maintain. Learn more at www.mcobject.com

Subscribe to Photovoltaics World

Follow Photovoltaics World on Twitter.com via editors Pete Singer, twitter.com/PetesTweetsPW and Debra Vogler, twitter.com/dvogler_PV_semi.

Or join our Facebook group

Previous articleEA: Hydropower On the Increase in UK
Next articleMasdar Institute Tour: A Living Energy Efficiency Laboratory

No posts to display