Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITRI) announced today it has expanded its capabilities with a dedicated meter for the solar market. The revenue-grade solar meter, which utilizes an Itron cellular communication module, is ideal for monitoring the energy production of residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The availability of third-party-owned residential solar systems has driven rapid growth in the solar market. Itron’s solar offering takes advantage of this growth by enabling third-party solar providers to collect, store and upload a solar system’s production data over an existing cellular network link. “Leveraging our existing technology and expertise, Itron is well-positioned for growth in the solar market. Solar and the integration of renewable energy into the grid have long been a part of our smart grid vision,” said Russ Vanos, vice president of global smart grid and business development at Itron. With developments in renewable energy increasing, so does the need to effectively monitor and manage the integration of these energy resources into the electrical grid. Itron’s solar offering gives solar providers an accurate, reliable way to measure and manage solar production data with a secure, low-cost communication network for data collection. “Cellular is a natural fit for the solar market,” said Campbell McCool, marketing communications for Itron Cellular Solutions. “Cellular communications leverage existing infrastructure, making solar meters easy and affordable to connect, and can easily and cost-effectively scale as more solar resources are added in various locations. In addition, increasingly low rates make cellular an appealing option for solar providers.” The current offering includes Itron cellular communications and associated Itron software. Itron also offers a hosted server option so that solar providers don’t have to worry about adding another system to manage and operate with in-house staff. With Itron Managed Services, production data is collected and provided via web services or XML files to the solar providers' in-house systems or web-portal systems.