Anewly developed software system has improved and accelerated the planning process for photovoltaic facilities built in open spaces. Such power plants have to be customised in line with the given terrain, weather conditions, customer requirements and the types of solar modules to be used.
The software system, developed by Siemens Energy, generates hundreds of different plant layouts within just a few seconds.
It can also analyse conflicting planning objectives, such as electrical output and costs and the effect they will have on one another.
As a result, the software reduces planning times by around 80%, compared with the common process of creating individual layouts and comparing them. Siemens Energy has been testing an initial version of the PVplanet software since April.
Photovoltaic to Stay
The percentage of electricity generated by photovoltaic power plants on roofs or in open spaces is increasing, with installed photovoltaic output having tripled worldwide between 2009 and 2010.
The solar cells used in photovoltaic plants convert sunlight directly into electrical energy. Planning large facilities is a complex process, however. For example, if you place the solar modules far apart, you can reduce the shadow each module will cast on the others, thereby increasing efficiency. This causes a problem, however, because increasing the distance between modules means fewer installed modules and, thus, less overall output. Planning engineers, therefore, have to make technical and economic compro- mises for a large number of parameters, while still meeting customer requirements regarding aspects such as minimum output or cost limits.
To make this planning easier, Siemens Energy and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics have developed the PVplanet planning tool, which simultaneously calculates the cost and potential output of a large number of possible designs and then identifies the best solution.
The software is based on mathematical algo- rithms especially developed by Fraunhofer institute, as well as the wealth of experience Siemens Energy has in designing solar power plants. Engineers who use the software initially enter basic conditions, such as topography and weather. After that, they select module and inverter types and can also alter or limit parameters like angles of inclination, service access ways and component costs.
The software uses the results to calculate the electricity production costs and, thus, the potential profitability of a given facility layout.
PVplanet will be made available to the engineering teams at Siemens Energy’s regional units and be further refined this year.
Reference Books on Facades and Photovoltaics
Today, the construction of the building shell is a greater challenge than ever for planners. Besides the diversity of functions that need to be performed, the specific properties and applications for the various materials play a critical role in the design of the facade.
The publications Facade Construction Manual, Building Skins and Insulating Materials cover the basic principles of facade planning and provide information on the raw material content, typical properties, areas of use and supply forms. Solar Architecture offers comprehensive treatment of all aspects of solar construction in a single volume – from urban planning to passive and active energy systems and the development of new insulating materials. Photovoltaics clearly demonstrates how the technical, aesthetic and engineering integration of solar systems into buildings can work, while Innovative Design & Construction focuses on describing the development and implementation processes a construction project entails.
More details can be obtained from Mail@detail.de.