Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

SolOPT: PV and Solar Hot Water Hourly Simulation Software Tool

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Contact NREL About This Technology

Publications:

PDF Document PublicationUsing SolOPT (835 KB)

Technology Marketing Summary

In order to increase the speed and scale of Renewable Energy (RE) solar project deployment on buildings, energy savings analysis and a strong business case is required. This software provides an hourly simulation to optimize rooftop area for combined solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar hot water (SHW) systems or solely PV. The program calculates energy savings, demand reduction, cost savings, C02 reduction, and building life cycle costs including: simple payback, discounted payback, net-present value, and savings to investment ratio. In addition, this tool displays the environmental benefits of a project. With this software a detailed solar energy hourly simulation and financial analysis can be conducted in a couple of minutes.

Description

There are two versions of the software. One is for PV only, the other includes SHW and PV.

PV only

This software requires inputs of general building characteristics and usage information to calculate the energy and cost benefits of PV. The software conducts complex hourly simulations of solar PV based primarily on the area available on the rooftop. It includes a detailed rate structure to account for time-of-use rates, on-peak and off-peak pricing, and multiple rate seasons. Calculations include energy savings, demand reduction, cost savings, incentives and building life cycle costs including: simple payback, discounted payback, net-present value, and savings to investment ratio and environmental benefit.

PV and SHW

This software requires inputs of simple hot water systems inventory information and general building usage information to calculate the energy and cost benefits of PV and SHW systems. The software conducts a complex hourly simulation of solar PV and SHW energy production to optimize rooftop area. Four optimization criteria are offered that will change the sizes of the two solar energy systems: net-present value, discounted payback period, C02 reduction, and total renewable energy production. The software includes the option for advanced system design inputs if they are known and calculates energy savings, demand reduction, and cost savings.

A beta version of the PV and SHW software is currently available here: http://www4.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/resource_center/resources/solopt_optimization_tool

Benefits
  • Reduced energy costs
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy savings analysis
  • Savings to investment ratio
  • Economic and environmental savings
  • Calculate solar hot water and photovoltaic compatibility
Applications and Industries
  • Solar for buildings
  • Integrated on-site solar
  • Rooftop solar
  • Solar hot water installations
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SWR 11-01PrototypeAvailable11/04/201311/04/2013

Contact NREL About This Technology

To: Doreen Molk<Doreen.Molk@nrel.gov>