In time for Intersolar Europe, in Munich, Germany, Valentin Software is launching a trio of new solar simulators to help installers and developers better understand what type of value a PV or solar thermal system will produce in a given location. The simulators feature some unique tools, too, like a program that can simulate how a battery energy storage system will operate with the array.
Simulators are important because they can help installers and project developers, as well as the customer, quickly understand whether or not solar is a good fit for a particular location. But they also require some software wizardry, like incorporating GIS-mapping system information from multiple sources, as well as understand and calculating the pitch of a roof and making calculations for hundreds or thousands of possible configurations, as well as the costs and other considerations for an array in a particular location.
The PV*SOL advanced 6.0 simulation program allows users to calculate their own consumption from PV power plants. It can design a PV farm and simulate how much the potential PV farm will produce as well as how an attached battery array will function. “Unlike the previous program PV*SOL Pro, the new program can now import load profiles into resolutions by the quarter hour or even the minute,” the company said. The software can also identify what losses will occur in a PV plant based on string line losses and DC to AC conversion factors.
“With PV*SOL advanced, planners, architects and installers can show their customers directly what makes sense financially and in terms of energy use in spite of sinking feed-in tariffs,” said Gerhard Valentin, managing director of Berlin-based Valentin Software.
The simulator can model a system on a home and handle systems up to 100,000 modules in size. And it’s database can plug in data on more than 12,000 PV modules and 2.800 inverter systems, allowing users to explore a wide range of potential solutions that will best match their needs.
Meanwhile, the T*SOL Pro software does a similar thing for solar thermal systems, like solar hot water systems. The latest version actually places photos of the simulated systems on the customer’s home or business so they can get a better idea of what the arrays will actually look like.
The company is also debuting a smart phone app at Intersolar. The tool records roof orientation, pitch information as well as an online calculation of the location-specific annual yield is included.