Solar power system is considered the fastest growing branch of the renewable Energy sector. A handful of power demands can be met with the help of this amazing technology. But we have to keep in mind that its methodology depends on the energy that comes from the sun.
Received energy from the Sun keeps changing throughout the year with different seasons. So one thing is clear that the implementation of the solar power system takes place after consideration of various factors such as location, average sun hour of the the located area, shading effect, weather data etc.
Why the Simulation Software is important in Solar Power System?
To take account of these factors, a simulation software is such an efficient tool and it can play a vital role for providing a forecasted report. It provides how much area do you need for your solar project whether it is ground mount or roof top or a top the industrial shed.
It can give you an annual energy yield in terms of kWh or MWh per day or month or year. You can also get the ROI of the project and how much energy you will be able to feed the grid after fulfilling your surplus on top of that.
A simulation software can help you to choose the right place considering the shading effect and geographical location.
A Short Brief of The Top Five Solar Simulation Software
There are various types of simulation softwares available for both offline and online use. After reviewing all these types, here I am giving a short brief of the top five solar simulation software along with their price and according to their simplicity of use, the variations they offer and the user interface.
First, Let's talk about one of the oldest simulation softwares PVsyst, which is consider as an effective and useful tool for solar system simulation. An inbuilt weather data helps it to forecast marginally. With the help of this tools, required space for solar panel installation, shading effect, proper orientation for maximum energy yield can be do.
It can also provide economical analysis. Off grid, on-grid and hybrid solar power systems along with other renewable energy (such as wind) integrated features are available to design with this system. Several types of mounting techniques such as fixed type, single axis tracking system, dual axis tracking system and others for solar installation can be apply with this software.
A huge library comes up with this tool that gives you a wide range of selection for various solar photovoltaic modules and inverters. Different types of losses can also be calculate with this tool. After simulation, this tool presents you a detailed project regarding all these things that can be include in the customer's offer. It also gives Daily, monthly and yearly energy generation data.
- It does not come up for free so you have to pay USD $650 as a yearly subscription for a single user.
However, you can use it for a 30 days free trial with full features if you want to get a pre use knowledge about it. Architects, engineers, researchers and Educational persons use this oldest simulation tool designed by the University of Geneva, France.
Then it comes to PV*SOL which is easy to use and it offers detailed specifications to its users. It provides photovoltaic system simulation, ROI sheets of the system and also gives a 3D model of the installed area of the system. One interesting thing is that it offers a drone view of the installed place where you can take the drone shots from different angles. Like the other softwares, it also comes with a 30 days of free trial.
- Then you have to pay USD $1487 per year if you want to continue it. Both PVsyst and PVSOL are desktop based softwares.
After that there is a software call SketchUp offer by Google. As it is google based software, so it is simple and less complex like the other softwares of google. Both trial version and Pro version or paid version are available for using this tool.
- Its yearly subscription cost is USD $299.
Users can do 3D modeling of any rooftop or ground space by using this software along with the shading effect calculation.
With the help of google map, any location can be export to be design by this software. Many architects use this software for this reason. But one thing is that this software does not offer suitable solar panel and inverter range for your system for which you have to go for PVsyst or PVSOL or other softwares.
The forth one is helioscope, a German web based application which offers unique solutions to its customers.
No installation is require for this application, so it is accessible by multi users. It gives an actual view with lots of options to be implemented.
Being web based, all kinds of latest solar panels and inverters can be find in this application and weather data of major big cities are integrate here. But for better ROI calculation, you have to go for PVsyst or PVSOL, where helioscope can give you a better solar system design.
- The cost of using this application is USD $95 per month or USD $950 over the year. Hence, you can also use it free for 30 days.
The last one is HOMER, a free software application developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the United States. This software application is use to design and evaluate technically and financially the options for off-grid and on-grid power systems for remote, stand-alone and distributed generation applications.
- The latest version of this software is HOMAR Pro that comes up with some great features for which you have to pay USD $45 - $135 per month as subscription fees.
So these are some of the solar simulation software applications that are widely use nowadays. You can use them according to your scope and purpose of the solar power system.