Going Solar? There’s an App for That

Getting the best performance from solar panels is critical to maximizing energy usage efficiency. Xylem, a water technology company, has introduced a free app for the iPhone that helps users adjust the placement and orientation of their panels. The app is called XyDial. It enables users to locate, configure and adjust a solar panel in real-time, finding the ideal position that will receive the most sunlight and maximize power output

The app helps homeowners and installers, but Xylem created it primarily to support rural farming—which explains why a water tech company got involved in solar panel placement. The company has an Essence of Life initiative—as part of the first phasethey have developed a stepping pump that enables farmers to irrigate their crops more efficiently and effectively.

XyDial works by selecting where shadows and objects are in relation to the panel, and adjusts for any buildings or trees that may obstruct the sun’s arc. It uses some of iPhone’s built-in capabilities, such as the digital compass and gyroscope, which helps the app determine the optimal alignment relative to the sun’s arc for a particular location and date range.