Best Solar Panel Layout Tool: Which One To Use?

Solar Panel Layout Tool

Overview:

A photovoltaic system includes a solar panel as one of its components. They are made up of a series of solar cells arranged on a panel. They come in a variety of rectangular shapes and are used in combination to generate electricity. Solar panels, also known as photovoltaics, capture solar energy and convert it into electricity, which may then be used to power homes or businesses. These panels may be used to supplement the energy in a building or to provide electricity in remote areas.

Solar power is widely employed in enterprises and utilities, as well as residential and commercial applications, with the help of solar design software to improve efficiency and usefulness. In this case, hundreds, if not millions, of solar panels are installed in a giant solar array, often known as a solar farm, which provides electricity to big metropolitan populations.

Working of a Solar Panel:

Solar photovoltaic panels are made up of a number of small photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. These cells are made of semi-conductive materials, most often silicon, that can conduct electricity while maintaining the necessary electrical imbalance to create an electric field. When photons from the sun impact a semiconductor in a solar PV cell, their energy is absorbed, causing a large number of electrons to be liberated and float freely within the cell. To create an electric field, the solar cell is made up of positively and negatively charged semiconductors stacked together. The electrons are pushed in one direction by the electric field, which is toward the conductive metal plates that surround the cell. The intensity of this flow, known as an energy current, determines how much power each cell can create. The current is steered into wires when unbound electrons impact metal plates, allowing the electrons to flow as they would in any other source of energy.

When a solar panel generates an electric current, the energy is routed via a network of wires to an inverter. While solar panels offer direct current (DC) energy, the bulk of power consumers' systems need alternating current (AC) energy to run. The inverter's duty is to convert direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) so that it may be used in everyday scenarios. The energy is transported from the inverter to the electrical panel (also known as the breaker box) and dispersed as needed throughout the building once it has been transformed into a useable form (AC power). Solar energy is now widely available for powering lights, appliances, and other electrical equipment.

The utility meter sends any electricity that is not used via the breaker box to the utility grid. The utility meter monitors the flow of electricity from the grid to your house and back again. This meter reverses when your solar energy system provides more power than you use on-site, and you are paid for the additional electricity generated via the net metering technique. You take supplemental energy from the grid via this meter when you need more power than your solar array provides, allowing it to work properly. Unless you've gone completely off-grid with a storage system, you'll need to consume some grid power, especially at night when your solar array isn't producing power. However, the majority of this grid energy will be offset by more solar energy produced throughout the day and at times when demand is lower.

What's inside a Solar Panel?

The basic component of every solar panel is a solar cell. A solar photovoltaic module is made up of a number of solar cells. These cells are a part of the technology used to turn sunlight into energy. The vast majority of solar panels are constructed using crystalline silicon solar cells. These cells are made up of layers of silicon, phosphorus, and boron (although there are several different types of photovoltaic cells). These cells are then laid out in a grid pattern once they have been formed. Because there are many sizes of cells available, the number of these cells used is primarily dictated by the size of the panel being produced.

The glass housing of the panels ensures the silicon PV cells' endurance and protection. To prevent heat loss and humidity inside the panel, solar panels include an insulating layer and a back sheet behind the glass exterior. This insulation is crucial since rising temperatures impair efficiency, resulting in poor solar panel performance. Solar panels include an anti-reflective coating that improves solar absorption and exposes the cells to the most sunlight possible.

When it comes to silicon solar cells, the two most common cell geometries are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Polycrystalline cells are made up of silicon fragments, while monocrystalline cells are made up of a single silicon crystal. Monocrystalline formats allow for more electron mobility and so give a more efficient solar technology than polycrystalline formats, but at a higher cost.

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Factors to Consider When Designing an Effective Solar Panel Rooftop Layout:

The orientation of the building in relation to the South: Ideally, as seen from above, a building's usable roof space will have a predominant axis that runs either North-South or East-West. This scenario provides the greatest leeway in determining the sort of mount to be employed.

The roof's pitch (slope): Many industrial buildings have relatively flat roofs with just enough slope to allow for water drainage. A flat roof is an excellent choice for a ballasted (weighted) installation solution, in which the solar PV system is simply mounted to the roof using concrete blocks. On steeper roofs, mechanical anchors that connect to the structural system underneath will be required to hold the system in place.

Optimum size of the overall system:There are several elements to consider while determining the optimal size for each individual project. Energy and site studies, as well as an awareness of the customer's aims and wants, decide these project levers. Some system owners, for example, may want to offset as much of their monthly power cost as possible, but others may be OK with far less. Furthermore, many big buildings do not need a solar system to take up the full accessible roof surface in order to considerably cut the business's energy usage from its utility provider. A tiny building, on the other hand, may have activities that utilize a lot of electricity and will only accomplish a minor offset at most, due to the size and available area on its roof.

Top 5 Solar Panel Layout Tool:

Let’s now look at the top 5 solar panel layout tool used by solar PV installers :-

Solar Labs

Solar Labs is a SaaS and AI cloud-based software for solar design and sales growth. It specializes in developing software for solar installers and government bodies to create preliminary sales quotations and optimize system designs. Solar Labs were founded in 2017 and are headquartered in New Delhi.

Features:

AI-Assisted Faster Design Creation: Create designs that are simple, accurate, and quick. View your design in 3D or 2D. Discover numerous iterations and choose the best solution depending on your customer's specifications.

Smarter Energy Profiling & Modeling: Generate detailed electrical diagrams for utility-scale or domestic projects in minutes. Choose from a choice of mounting templates and panel tilt values. Draw-in barriers of any shape using the polygon tool and more.

Accurate Simulations and Shading Analysis: Easily predict your monthly, quarterly, and annual power production and losses.Simulate shading patterns for any day of the year and generate reliable heat maps.

Sales Proposals and Commercial Reports: Attract clients with thorough yet exhaustive proposals. Focus on the key growth metrics and provide multiple financial solutions in a concise manner.View your Total Savings, Payback Period and Internal Return Rate, in one single view.

CAD Layout and SLDs: Fabricate single-line diagrams and export them as DXF files for easy construction plans.

Website: https://thesolarlabs.com/

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Aurora Solar

Aurora Solar develops cloud-based software that enables solar PV engineering design, provides workflow management functionality, and facilitates sales and customer acquisition for solar installers and financiers. Christopher Hopper and Samuel Adeyemo founded Aurora Solar in 2013. It has its headquarters inSan Francisco, California.

Features:

Simple and Efficient Design Interface: Users can perform detailed shading analysis and shade measurement directly in the application, drag and drop components to create system designs, and generate single line diagrams automatically. All designs are automatically checked for electrical constraints, industry best practices, and NEC rule compliance.

Easy and Automated Financial Report: It enables users to quickly determine a project's viability and easily model many of the most common financing structures. Financial models consider the project's energy profile and calculate accurate and dynamic visualisations of financial information such as cash flows, payback periods, LCOE, and bill savings.

Compelling Sales Proposals: Using the project and design data already created in Aurora, sales proposals automatically pull in the custom project and client data, 3D visuals, and financial analysis into any number of clean and professional templates, guaranteeing a consistent, yet customized experience for all clients.

Website: https://www.aurorasolar.com/


HelioScope

HelioScope is a popular platform in the solar industry for designing and selling high-performance solar arrays. Designers and engineers will find it simple to use and understand. It has a plethora of features that are essential for anyone interested in solar energy. It's no surprise that many users have used this software to design solar PV systems.

Features:

HelioScope has a number of useful features as an online solar design tool. This includes the following items, which are listed below,

  • Solar Panels Layout
  • Shading Analysis
  • Single Line Diagram Export
  • 45,000 Component Library
  • Quick Design Revision
  • Google Maps Integration
  • PAN File Support
  • Unlimited Designs
  • API
  • Computer-Aided Drawing (CAD) Tools
  • Solar Energy Production Estimates
  • System Energy Loss Chart
  • 3D Design
  • Voltage Drop Calculation
  • One-Click Sharing
  • SketchUp Shading Integration
  • Wiring Selection
  • NSRDB/NREL Meteo Integration
  • Up to 5 MW Systems

Website: https://www.helioscope.com/

PVsyst

PVsyst is a PC software package for studying, sizing, and analysing data from complete PV systems. It covers grid-connected, stand-alone, pumping, and DC-grid (public transportation) PV systems, as well as extensive meteo and PV system component databases and general solar energy tools. This software is designed for architects, engineers, and researchers. It is also extremely beneficial for educational training. PVsyst focuses on comprehensive and precise PV system analysis using a comprehensive set of tools.

Features:

PVSyst software has the following features:

  • System designing
  • System sizing
  • Creating a shading scene
  • It generates simulations and outcomes.
  • Model storage systems
  • Some additional features include importing data and components and getting weather data from meteonorm.
  • Simulate the ageing effect of solar modules, etc.

Website: https://www.pvsyst.com/


Open Solar

OpenSolar is the world's first free, end-to-end solar design and sales application, providing solar professionals with a highly sophisticated, yet simple-to-use software tool that meets all of their needs, from marketing and lead management to solar system design, sales, installation, and service.

Features:

3D Design, Leading Accuracy: The fastest, simplest and most accurate 3D design tool available, making your proposals reliable and bankable from the office and in the field.

Integrated Finance Partners: Effortless selection and integration of your chosen finance providers with in-app real-time approvals, making selling easier than ever.

Proposals that Sell: Fully customizable, interactive proposals online or as a PDF.  24% sale conversion drawn from experience selling 10,000's of systems, face-to-face and over the phone.

Free of Charge: All of this is available for free to all users indefinitely.

Open API: Connect your existing CRM and business tools to our industry-leading platform. Work in the manner in which you prefer.

Website: https://www.opensolar.com/

Conclusion:

Pollution-free skies have allowed solar power plants that convert light into electricity to become more productive and reliable in many parts of the world. Meanwhile, coal and gas-fired power stations have closed due to falling demand. Solar output in the United Kingdom peaked on April 20th at 9.7 gigatonnes. This accounted for almost 30% of the country's electrical supply at the time—ten times the usual amount. In Germany, the percentage of solar energy in the mix reached 23% for a whole week in April, up from an average of about 8% in 2019. Such figures, albeit fleeting, are astounding. They say that solar power has developed as a consequence of the introduction of solar design software. In some ways, despite the bright and shining aspects of solar power, this is the triumph of an old technology.