OpenSolar updates its 3D design and sales software – pv magazine USA

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OpenSolar has released version 2.0 of its free rooftop solar power design and sales software platform.

OpenSolar said it has worked with PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to test and validate the product of conception.

OpenSolar’s roof design tool uses 3D modeling.
Image: OpenSolar

NREL compared OpenSolar’s remote 3D tool with assessments done on the same roof by SunEye, the world leader in hand-held shadow assessment, and found that OpenSolar’s accuracy was within within a 3% margin of error.

PVEL was responsible for evaluating the height and scale assessment of the tool. OpenSolar’s model was accurate to within 1.3 feet in its assessment of the scale. The tool also evaluated the pitch to an accuracy of 4 degrees near 97% of the time.

The company’s energy modeling system, or estimated production based on key inputs such as pitch, azimuth and shading, is based on NREL’s System Advisor (SAM) model. Compared to SAM, PVEL has found that OpenSolar’s model is consistent with standard engineering practices. Its production figures were found to be less than 0.2% of SAM estimates and less than 2% of PVsyst model estimates.

“Our evaluation of OpenSolar’s software confirms that its implementation of the SAM power generation model engine is accurate and industry-standard for residential and commercial projects and that its 3D ray tracing calculations of the shading of the beams is as good or better than the other products available ”said Ryan Desharnais, technical director of PVEL.

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