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NSolVx

Users Guide

Doug Danley
September 2012
NSolVx Users Guide
Table of Contents
1 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 4
2 Installation........................................................................................................................................................................................ 5
2.1 Installation locations .......................................................................................................................................................... 5
2.2 Activating the program ...................................................................................................................................................... 5
3 Quick Overview............................................................................................................................................................................... 6
3.1 Overview .................................................................................................................................................................................. 6
3.2 Starting the Program .......................................................................................................................................................... 6
3.3 File Navigation ...................................................................................................................................................................... 6
3.4 Navigating the Notebook .................................................................................................................................................. 7
3.4.1 System Summary Section ........................................................................................................................................ 7
3.4.2 Data Input Section ...................................................................................................................................................... 7
3.4.3 Graph / Tabular Data section ................................................................................................................................ 8
4 Data Entry ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 9
4.1 Entering System Data Directly........................................................................................................................................ 9
4.2 Entering System Data using Databases ....................................................................................................................... 9
4.3 Editing Databases................................................................................................................................................................. 9
4.4 Data Entry Specifications ................................................................................................................................................ 10
4.4.1 “System” Page ............................................................................................................................................................ 10
4.4.2 “Site” Page.................................................................................................................................................................... 11
4.4.3 “Loads” Page ............................................................................................................................................................... 11
4.4.4 “PV” Page ...................................................................................................................................................................... 11
4.4.5 “Battery” Page ............................................................................................................................................................ 12
4.4.6 “Controller” Page ...................................................................................................................................................... 12
4.4.7 “Inverter” Page .......................................................................................................................................................... 12
4.4.8 “”GT Inverter” Page .................................................................................................................................................. 13
4.4.9 “Generator” Page ...................................................................................................................................................... 13
5 Sizing a System ............................................................................................................................................................................. 14
5.1 Array Tilt / Tracking ......................................................................................................................................................... 14
5.1.1 Fixed Tilt ...................................................................................................................................................................... 14

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5.1.2 Tracking........................................................................................................................................................................ 14
5.2 Standalone PV ...................................................................................................................................................................... 14
5.3 PV-Generator Hybrid Systems ...................................................................................................................................... 15
5.3.1 Input Parameters ...................................................................................................................................................... 15
5.3.2 Array Tilt ...................................................................................................................................................................... 15
5.3.3 Hybrid System Analysis ......................................................................................................................................... 15
5.3.4 Hybrid System Performance Data ..................................................................................................................... 16
5.4 Grid Tied Systems .............................................................................................................................................................. 17
5.4.1 Selecting Components ............................................................................................................................................ 17
5.4.2 Array Tilt and Tracking .......................................................................................................................................... 17
5.4.3 Grid System Analysis............................................................................................................................................... 17
6 Reports and Exporting Data .................................................................................................................................................... 18
6.1 Printing Reports ................................................................................................................................................................. 18
6.2 Exporting Charts and Tables ......................................................................................................................................... 18
6.3 Exporting data for use in spreadsheet ...................................................................................................................... 18

3
1 Introduction
input dialog boxes, and professional-
looking printouts. All of these streamline
the operation to the point where a system
can be sized and revised while on the
phone with a customer, or under tight
proposal deadlines.
 Easy insolation input requirements. The
program uses only monthly average
global horizontal solar insolation, which
is readily available for sites all over the
world. There is no need for detailed
hourly insolation required by many
"simulation" programs. In addition, an
international insolation database is
included. The NSol-DB Database contains
nearly 2,500 sites compiled from the
University of Lowell and NREL solar
insolation databases, and has the ability
to search for specific sites by city, state,
country or latitude / longitude. This
database is user-modifiable. The program
NSol! is a computer assisted design tool to be also contains NASA satellite data for every
used in the design and analysis of battery based integer latitude/longitude
photovoltaic (PV) and PV-Generator hybrid  Advanced statistical system performance
power systems. It combines the power of analysis. NSol ! uses a proprietary LOLP
advanced statistical performance algorithms with algorithm developed by Professor L. L.
the speed and ease of use necessary for daily use Bucciarelli of the Massachusetts Institute
by PV industry sales and systems engineering of Technology. Based on the concept of
professionals. NSol ! is designed to operate on an "Markov Transition Matrices," this
MS-DOSTM compatible computer under algorithm calculates the statistical
Microsoft Win95TM or later. performance of the solar insolation
resource, then applies this to the battery-
There are three major tasks when designing a PV
based PV system. The result is a "Loss-of-
system using NSol !:
Load Probability" which gives a concise
 Entering the data estimate of system reliability.
 Optimizing the array tilt, and  Hybrid System Analysis – Basic
 Sizing the system and estimating performance calculations for PV-Battery-
performance Generator hybrids
Once the system has been sized, the data can be  Grid System Analysis – Basic performance
stored in a file for later use. NSol ! also provides a calculations for utility-tied PV systems
number of standardized reports which can be  Proposal Quality Printouts - summary and
printed on any WindowsTM-compatible printer. detailed printouts are ready for inclusion
NSol ! has a number of features which make it directly into your proposals. The
unique among current PV system sizing printouts can be customized with your
programs, including: own logo.
 Ease of operation. The program is
designed with a "point and click"
interface, pull down menus, standard

4
2 Installation
2.1 Installation locations
NSol Install itself automatically.
NSol! is a 32 bit program, but will also work on
64 bit windows computers.
NSol! requires Windows Vista, Windows 7 or
Windows 8. It WILL NOT allow itself to be
installed on Windows XP. It requires a screen
resolution of 1024 x 768.
NSol! installs itself in the following folders:
 /program files/nsolvx on 32 bit
machines or
 /program files (x86)/nsolvx on 64
bit machines.
NSol! uses a number of databases and user-
configurable files, which are always stored under
c:\nsolvx.

NSol! stores all data files using the extension


“.pv7”. It is good practice to store these files in a
location (typically “My Documents/nsol”) where
they can be easily backed up.
The program always opens with “default.pv7”,
which is stored in c:\nsolvx. To modiy this file,
simply design your own default system and then
use SaveAs to save it as
c:\nsolvx\default.pv7.

2.2 Activating the program


NSol! must be activated for each computer it is
installed on. Simply follow the instructions that
appear when the program is first started. This
will send an email to nsolpv.com containing the
unique MachineID. We will then generate a
unique Activation Code which is entered after
receipt. Once the program is activated, it should
run normally.
Significant changes in operating systems or in
upgrading to a new computer will require a new
activation. Contact nsolpv@verizon.net for more
information.

5
3 Quick Overview

change the default file by editing the data


3.1 Overview and then “Save As” “default.pv7” in
NSol! is a “project-based” approach to sizing PV “c:\nsolvx”.
systems. Each system is stored in a separate file  The “Open” button opens an existing file.
with the “PV7” extension. The PV7 file opens to It is good practice to store the working
show a complete sizing summary, along with files in an “/nsol” folder in your “My
sections for editing components and reviewing Documents” folder, and to back them up
data via graphs and performance tables. regularly. You can open a file from NSol!
V4.6 and NSol!-GT by selecting the proper
The program also produces a variety of reports,
file type in the lower right corner of the
and data export capabilities.
“Open” dialog box.
3.2 Starting the Program
The program is opened by double-clicking on the
program icon, or its shortcut. Shortcuts can be
installed on the desktop, “Start” menu, or toolbar.
The program can also be started by double-
clicking an NSol! data file (*.pv7, *.pv6, *.pv5).
 The “Save” button saves the existing file.
3.3 File Navigation If it is a “new” file, NSol! will suggest a the
 The “New” button generates new file city of the current site as a name.
using the data stored in “default.pvy”  The “Save As” button will open the File
which is stored in “c:\nsolvx”. You can Save Dialog Box and allow the file to be

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saved under a different same. You can program will ask whether you want to
only save files to the pv7 format. save it or discard it.
 The “Export Button” saves system and
performance data to a “prn” file which can 3.4 Navigating the Notebook
be opened with a spreadsheet such as There are three main areas for user input:
Excel™. The exact format of the prn file
 The System Summary section in the
varies depending on the system type.
upper left,
 The “Print” Button opens a dialog which
 The Data Input Screens in the upper right,
allows the user to choose which files will
and
be printed. To save files to PDF, you must
 The Graph and Tabular data in the lower
install a PDF driver such as “CutePDF”,
right.
which is available off the internet. The
exported file name will typically consist of 3.4.1 System Summary Section
the file name plus a description of the
report.

This section will show different components


depending on which system type is selected.
 The “Company Info” button allows the Clicking on any of the components will move the
user to customize the Company “Data Input” section to the appropriate page.
information which appears on the
The lower part of the summary section is where
reports.
you do the actual sizing. You can select system
type, tracking options, array tilt and azimuth, # of
module and battery Ah.
The [Auto PV] and [Auto Batt] buttons will
quickly size a standalone system or hybrid
system to the “Target ALR” and “Target Batt”
factors specified in “System Inputs”.
In a grid-tied system, the [Auto PV] button will
select the proper number of modules in series to
match the maximum inverter voltage, and will
then maximize the size of the array to match the
inverter rating.

3.4.2 Data Input Section


 The “Exit Button” exits the program. If This is where the system sizing data is entered.
the working file has not been saved, the Details are in section 4 below.

7
3.4.3 Graph / Tabular Data section
This section allows the user to view system
performance data in a number of ways. The exact
screens which are displayed depend on the
system type selected.
For each of the pages displayed, the user has a
choice of viewing data as a graph or as a table, via
the button to the lower right of the graph / chart.
Both the graph and tabular data can be copied to
the clipboard by right-clicking on the graph /
table and making the appropriate selection.
The graph can easily be pasted into a proposal or
other document.
The tabular data can be pasted into a spreadsheet
where it can be used for further analysis or for
creating custom graphs, or into a document
(formatting will be required in the latter).

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4 Data Entry
The program allows the user to either enter The components can be filtered by manufacturer
component and system data directly, or to select using the drop-down box on the mid-right of the
from existing databases. The databases can be page.
edited by the user if desired.

4.1 Entering System Data Directly


In the component pages, the direct input fields
have a white background with black text and are
generally to the right under “Program Data”. The
program will update the system performance
calculations every time a field is edited.
The example below shows the PV Module input 4.3 Editing Databases
window. The databases can be edited by clicking on the
[Edit DB] button on the lower right of the page.

This will put the database in edit mode, and will


change the navigation bar as shown below.

Because the Site page has so much data, all of the


fields are for direct user input. Database fields
are on a separate screen.

4.2 Entering System Data using


Databases
As an alternative to entering the data manually,
the program allows the user to select data from a In the edit screen, the user can modify existing
database. records, add record, or delete records. This
procedure is described below.

To select a record, simply use the arrow keys to


select the proper record in the Grey / blue boxes
on the left, then click on the [Accept] button.

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The Navigation bar changes when the database is 4.4 Data Entry Specifications
in Edit Mode, as shown below.
4.4.1 “System” Page

From the left, the buttons are:


 First record
 Previous record
 Next record
 Last record
 Insert a record
 Edit a record
 “Post” the changes
 Delete a record
 Refresh the data
If you “hover” over a button, the program will Design Factors:
display a hint as to the button function  Site Name: used only in report
To edit an existing record, click on the “edit”  Sys DC Voltage: Use for battery
button, make the changes, then click on the “post” based systems to help with sizing the
button. battery
 Sys AC Voltage: used with battery
To add a record, click on the “Insert” button, fill in systems to help calculate the loads
the data, then click on the “post button”.  Max DOD %: Use to determine actual
To delete a record, navigate to the desired record, useful capacity of the battery. Typically
then click on the “delete” button. NOTE THAT 50% or 80% DOD.
DELETING A RECORD CANNOT BE UNDONE, SO  Avg Cell Volts: Used in battery systems to
BE CAREFUL WITH THIS FUNCTION. calculate the loads, when they are
When editing is complete, click on the [View DB] specified in watt. Load (watts) is divided
button. by battery voltage * avg V/cell to get load
in amps or amp-hours
 Target ALR – used to autosize battery
based systems. Typically 1.1.
 Target Batt Days: used in autosizing
battery systems. Default is 5 days.
 Seasonal Losses – used to adjust for
soiling or shading losses, if they vary by
season.

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4.4.2 “Site” Page  Hrs/Day – number of days that the load is
on. This is ignored for lighting
calculations
 Load Type – AC (uses inverter efficiency)
or DC
 Load Units – used to specify loads. Load
is ultimately converted to amp-hours per
day at battery voltage.
 Conversion Eff – if AC, the inverter
efficiency is used. Can be used to specify
the efficiency of a DC-DC converter.
 Load Profile – used for LOLP calculations,
and also for lighting calculations
 Site Data – used in reports. Latitude and
longitude are used for tilt and insolation
4.4.4 “PV” Page
correlation calculations
 GH Insolation – Global horizontal
Insolation, monthly average.
 Avg Temp – average daily temperature
for the month. Used in performance
calculations
 Temp Swing – the range above and below
the average temperature. Max
temperature is at 3 pm, min temperature
is at 3 am.
 Reflectance – used in tilt calculations.
Typically 0.2.

 Manufacturer – Used for reports


 Model – used for reports
4.4.3 “Loads” Page  Rated Wp – STC raing of module in watts
 Vtyp – typical STC operating voltage at
max power (from datasheet)
 Ityp – typical STC operating current from
datasheet
 Voc – open circuit voltage at STC
 Isc – Short circuit current from datasheet.
The four voltages and currents, along
with temperature compensation, are used
to calculate IV curves
 V Temp Comp % -- temperature
compensation of Voc – from datasheet
 I Temp Comp % -- temperature
compensation of Isc from datasheet
 Description – used in reports only  Length – in mm
 Load Size – can be amps, amp-hours,  Width – in mm
watts, watt-hours, etc.  Thickness – in mm
 Cost – optional – may be used in future
economic calculations

11
 Model – used in reports
 Comments – used in reports
4.4.5 “Battery” Page  MPPT – if this is selected, the program
caulates using max-power-tracking
algortithm. If not, program assumes a
directly connected array (i.e. PWM
controllers)
 Voltage – operating voltage of controller.
Used for error checking only
 Max Amps – maximum battery charge
amps of controller
 Max Voc – maximum open circuit voltage
allowed by controller
 Efficiency – efficiency of MPPT controllers
 Cost – future use
 Manufacturer – used for reports
 Model – used for reports
4.4.7 “Inverter” Page
 Amp Hr – rated amp-hours of battery at
an appropriate discharge rated (typically
C/100 for standalone PV, C/24 or C/48
for hybrid systems
 Type – not used, but will be in future
 Unit Volts – voltage of an individual
battery – two voltage for lead acid cells,
multiple for blocks of lead acid batteries,
could be 1.2 or 1.6 for other battery
chemistries. Used in battery sizing series
calculations
 Monobloc – whether the battery is treated
as a unit which must be paralleled to
increase size.  Manufacturer – used in reports
 Cost – to be used in future  Model-- used in reports
 kVA – rating of inverter in kVA – this may
be the same as kW
4.4.6 “Controller” Page  VAC – operating voltage of inverter
 VDC – DC voltage of battery based
inverter
 Charger Amps – amps available for
charging from generator inn battery-
based inverters
 Type – battery based or grid tied.
 Efficiency – used in various calculations.
Should be the average operating
efficiency, not the peak efficiency
 Cost – future use

 Manufacturer – used in reports

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4.4.8 “”GT Inverter” Page  Genset Model – used in reports
 Genset kW – maximum power output of
generator
 Genset PF – minimum operating PF of
alternator. Typically 1.0 or 0.8
 FLFC – full load fuel consumption in liters
per hour
 QLFC – fuel consumption of generator at
quarter load. Used to calculate fuel
consumption of hybrid systems
 Fuel – not used at present
 Oil Change (hrs) – for future economic
calculations
 Decoke (hrs) – for future economic
 Manufacturer – used in reports calculations
 Model – used in reports  Overhaul (hrs) – for future economic
 kVA – rating of inverter calculations
 VAC – operating AC voltage of inverter.  Life (hrs) – for future economic
Not used in grid calculations at present, calculations
but is used in error checking  Run Genset Daily – if this is checked, the
 Type – grid tied or battery based program will assume that the generator is
 PV Voc Max – Maximum open circuit operated at least once per day. If it is not
voltage of inverter, from datasheet checked, generator will be started and
 Vtrack min – minimum voltage for max stopped solely based on state-of-charge
power tracking  Battery Charger (A) – if DC-Bus system,
 Vtrack Max – maximum voltage for max this is the rectifier amps. If AC-Bus
power tracking. Calculations will limit at systems, this is taken from inverter rating
this voltage if it is exceeded  Charger PF – used to calculate kVA
 Efficiency – used in performance loading of generator
calculation. Should be average operating  Charger Efficiency – used to calculate
voltage, not peak. generator loading
 Cost – future use  Gen Loading (nom) -- calculated
 Fuel Cost – for future economic
calculations
 Maintenance / hr – for future economic
4.4.9 “Generator” Page calculations
 Gen Start – BSOC – this is the setpoint that
is used to start the generator.
 Gen Stop – BSOC – this is the setpoint that
is used to stop the generator.
 Net Charge Ah Eff – the net amp-hour
efficiency of the battery. Typically 90-
95%, unless the battery is operated at
very high states of charge, which are less
efficient
 Equalize Freq (per month) – this is the
monthly frequency that the battery is
equalized at. Equalization assumes the
battery is charged to 100% at fairly low
 Genset Mfgr – used in reports Ah efficienc,y then run for an extra hour.

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5 Sizing a System
NSol! is an engineering too, and it assumes that correlation of insolation. These factors are used
the user is familiar with the process of sizing to account for less-than sunny days, and are a
Standalone PV, Hybrid and Grid-tied PV systems. significant advancement over simply assuming
Use of this program is not a substitute for formal that “five days” of storage is sufficient.
training in PV system design. The two primary outputs are the Array-to-Load
The sections below discuss the basic factors ration (ALR) and the Loss-of-Load-Probability
involved in sizing standalone, hybrid and grid- (LOLP).
tied systems. The ALR is simply the energy balance between
the average insolation and the average load for
5.1 Array Tilt / Tracking the design month. A good system will typically
In any sizing example, the first step is to calculate have some excess array capacity in order to
the insolation on the array surface for every point optimize recharging during sunny days. A system
during the year. This is affected by the array tilt, will typically operate best with an ALR of at least
array azimuth and tracking options. 1.1.
The LOLP is a statistical calculation on whether
5.1.1 Fixed Tilt
the array and battery combined can support the
With fixed tilt systems, the tilt is typically steeper load. A low LOLP (0.3 or lower) indicates that the
than latitude for standalone systems, and system is very reliable (from an energy point of
typically at around latitude for hybrid systems or view – it does not include equipment factors).
grid-tied systems. An LOLP of 0.3 indicated that the system will lose
A positive tilt is facing south, a negative tilt is the load on an average of 0.3 days per month.
facing north (apologies to those in the southern Assuming a month has 30 days, this is a load-
hemisphere, but we had to choose a standard). disconnect event once every three years or so.
Positive azimuth is towards the west, negative The LOLP is decreased both by raising the ALR
towards the east. and by increasing the battery capacity. The
In practice, the system tilt may be constrained by program will allow the user to rapidly calculate
other factors (including mounting surfaces or an optimum system configuration for a specific
inter-row shading). NSol! Allows the user to need.
quickly evaluate the performance at various tilts For example, a telecom system may require an
and azimuths. LOLP of 0.03 (one event per ten years), while a
home power system, where the user can
5.1.2 Tracking manually adjust loads, may be fine with an LOLP
NSol! Presently allows calculate of systems with of 3% (one day per month) or higher.
north-south tracking (horizontal or tilted) and The system availability is the inverse of the LOLP,
two axis tracking. We are working on an East- and can be used to describe system “reliability”
west tracking algorithm. from a purely energy balance standpoint.
An off-grid system will typically be constrained
5.2 Standalone PV by the month with the lowest insolation
This is for off-grid, battery based PV systems. (assuming a constant load), and will have excess
The array must supply sufficient energy to power energy during other months. The ALR and LOLP
the full load, including typical battery losses. graphs and data tables can be used to evaluate
NSol! Calculates an energy balance using a tradeoff between equipment sizing and
statistical method which assumes a variability of performance.
the available insolation, and a day-to-day

14
5.3 PV-Generator Hybrid Systems  Equalization Frequency The following
NSol! 4 uses a simplified sizing calculation for figure shows the Hybrid system input
estimating performance of hybrid power systems screen:
The basic process is to calculate the energy
required by the load during a typical month,
subtract the energy available from the PV array,
and calculate generator performance based on
supplying the remaining energy. The result is a
description of generator operating hours, fuel
consumption, and number of charge cycles for
each month.
NSol! can calculate performance of a DC-Bus
(Series) hybrid with the generator charging the
battery through a dedicated rectifier, as well as
an AC-Bus (Parallel) hybrid where the generator
charges the battery through the inverter at the
same time as it supplies the load.
Prior to starting the sizing process, the user must
select a PV module, a battery, and at least one 5.3.2 Array Tilt
valid load. The user should also select a site, and In general, the array tilt should be optimized for
enter a valid system voltage. annual energy output, so it is typically at or near
the latitude.
5.3.1 Input Parameters
The user must also enter the following generator 5.3.3 Hybrid System Analysis
and battery charger information: The following process is used to make the
 Generator Manufacturer generator calculations:
 Generator Model 1. The “amp-hour deficit” that must be
 Genset Power Rating supplied by the generator is calculated by
 Genset Power Factor Rating subtracting the derated array amp-hours from
 Full Load Fuel Consumption (FLFC) the DC load amp hours. This is expressed as
 Quarter Load Fuel Consumption (QLFC) “generator amp-hours per month.”
– Maintenance Information: 2. The “typical cycle” is determined by
– Oil Change Interval finding the difference between in battery State-
– Decoke Interval of-Charge (SOC) for a typical charge cycle. These
– Overhaul Interval values are entered in the Hybrid Page of the
– Generator Life “Systems Inputs” dialog box. Typical start of
 Battery Charger Current (taken from charge is 40% SOC and end of charge is 85-95%
inverter data in AC Bus systems) SOC, so each cycle typically replaces 45-55% of
 Battery Charger PF the battery capacity.
 Battery Charger Efficiency 3. The time its takes to recharge the battery
 In addition, the data input screen allows is calculated by dividing the net battery charger
the following control setpoint inputs: output (rectifier rating minus the average DC
– Generator Start Battery State of load) into the amp-hour recharge requirement,
Charge and dividing by the battery “amp-hour recharge
– Generator Stop BSOC (normal efficiency.” (Note – this number is typically very
charge) high for charge cycles up to 85% SOC, and
– Normal Charge Coloumbic (Amp- decreases rapidly beyond that.)
hr) Efficiency

15
For example, with a 1000 Ah battery, a 100 amp these variables in real time using different sizing
rectifier, a 10 amp load and a 95% battery options.
efficiency, it would take a generator 5.25 hours
for a typical cycle from 40% to 85% SOC. 5.3.4 Hybrid System Performance Data
4. Generator fuel consumption is calculated Basic data for hybrid system performance is
based on the electrical load presented to the displayed in the lower left segment of the main
generator (as a percentage of its full load) screen.
multiplied by the number of hours that the Graphical and tabular data are available in the
generator operates. lower right segment. Both the graph and the
5. The number of cycles per month is underlying table data can be copied to the clip
calculated by dividing the Gen Ah requirement by and pasted into a document or spreadsheet.
the net number of amp-hours during each charge
cycle. This includes both the amp-hours that
recharge the battery and the amp-hours that are
supplied to the load while the generator is
operating. This is often described as a fractional
number of cycles – e.g., 8.4 cycles for a given
month. This means that the long term average
would be 8.4, but any given year would probably
have 8 or 9 cycles.
6. Finally, a factor is added for periodic
equalization of the batteries. This involves
running the generator for an extended period of
time to bring the batteries to full charge (and
slightly beyond). The user enters the number of
“equalizations” per month, which depends on the
battery technology and control system being
used.
7. Operating hours and fuel consumption
per month are calculated by multiplying the
parameters “per typical cycle” by the “number of
cycles” in a given month, and adding the
appropriate values for equalization.
8. Monthly values are then totaled to give
annual values for the basic parameters.
This a simplified approach, and ignores such
factors as “daily load profile,” as well as “daily,
timed operation” of the generators, as opposed to
“battery based demand operation,” and the
differences between “DC Bus” and “AC Bus”
hybrids. It also simplifies factors such as
multi¬stage charging and battery aging. However,
it will give a reasonable estimate of generator
performance for most typical system designs.
General design goals typically call for a limited
use of generator-supplied energy, limited fuel
use, or limited operating hours. The NSol!
algorithm allows the designer to evaluate each of

16
5.4 Grid Tied Systems modules, and subtracting the system losses –
typically 10%.
NSol! sizes grid-tied systems by calculating the
performance at 15 minute intervals for a “typical 6. Calculate the system AC output power by
day” in each month, then summing these values multiplying the DC power by the inverter
and multiplying by the number of days in each efficiency. Output energy for that time slot is AC
month. This method is meant to be an power * 0.25 hours. If the AC power is greater
approximation, and should not be used in place of than the inverter AC rating, then the output
more extensive analysis for performance power is limited to the output rating for that time
guarantees, etc. period.
7. Calculate the daily energy by summing
5.4.1 Selecting Components the AC energy over the entire day.
Before sizing a system, the user should select a 8. Calculate the monthly energy by
module from the PV module database, and then a multiplying the daily energy by the number of
grid tied inverter from the inverter database. days per month.
5.4.2 Array Tilt and Tracking
Array tilt and tracking can be set from the sizing
segment of the screen, and easily changed to
optimize the system.

5.4.3 Grid System Analysis


The sequence of calculations used by NSol! for
each time-step is:
1. Calculate the plane-of array irradiance.
2. Calculate the instantaneous ambient
temperature in degrees C. This is done using the
average temperature and the temperature swing
entered in the Insolation Data page. The
temperature is estimated to be a sine wave
around the average temperature, offset so that
the highest daily temperature occurs around 2
pm. The average temperature of the sine wave
equals the average monthly temperature, and the
magnitude of the wave is equal to the
temperature offset. For example, is the average
daily temperature is 25 degrees and the variation
is 10 degrees, the temperature will “bottom out”
at 15 degrees at 2 a.m. and peak at 35 degrees at
2 p.m.
3. Calculate the “derated” IV curve of a
single module by applying the voltage and
current temperature correction factors to the
rated power.
4. Calculate the energy from a single module
by mutiplying the irradiance (as a percent of 1
kW/m2) by the derated module power.
5. Calculate the DC array power by
multiplying the module output by the number of

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6 Reports and Exporting Data
6.1 Printing Reports
To print reports, simply click on the [Print] button, and select the desired reports.

To save the reports as PDF files, it is necessary to install a PDF driver such as “CutePDF”, which is open
source and available for free download off the Internet.
To customize the logo on the printed reports, simply replace the “primtlogo.jpg” file with a custom file
containing your logo. This file must be 260x160 pixels (or some multiple of that), must be a standard
jpeg file, and must be named “printlogo.jpg”.

6.2 Exporting Charts and Tables


All charts and tables can be exported by right clicking over the appropriate chart or table, then selecting
“Copy to Clipboard”.
The Graph Data can be pasted into a document for use in proposals, manuals, etc. The table data can be
pasted into a spreadsheet and used for further analysis and for creating customized graphs.

6.3 Exporting data for use in spreadsheet


All system and performance data can be exported by clicking on the [Export] button on the main screen.
Data in saved in a “tab-deliniated” file, which can be opened with a spreadsheet program.

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NSol ! PV SYSTEM SIZING PROGRAM

Glossary
This is an informal glossary of the terms used in sizing PV systems with NSol ! The definitions are those
that apply to the program, rather than the strict mathematical or scientific definitions.
Ah - Amp-hour
ALR - Array to Load Ratio
Amp-hours - One amp for one hour -- a typical measure of energy output (of a
PV array for example), or storage capacity (of a battery)
Array / Load Ratio - equals Array Ah / Load Ah : a measure of the "oversizing" of the
system and its ability to recharge a battery quickly after a cloudy
period.
Azimuth - The direction the array is facing east or west of true north/south.
The effects of off-azimuth siting grow in importance the farther
you are from the equator.
Battery - An electrochemical storage device. NSol! assumes that all
batteries are lead acid type.
BSOC - Battery State of Charge
Cell - A single battery unit. For lead acid batteries, a cell is 2 volts, so
a 12 volt battery is made up of 6 cells wired in series. Larger
industrial batteries are available only in single "cells" while
smaller batteries and some forklift batteries are available as pre -
packaged series connections called "monoblocs."

Clearness Factor - The ratio of Global Horizontal insolation to extraterrestrial


insolation. This number is always less than one. A high single
day value would be 0.80. A monthly average value of 0.6 to 0.7
indicates a very sunny climate. Also sometimes called the
clearness index, cloudiness factor or KT_Bar.
Correlation (Insolation) - The statistical measure of the probability that tomorrow's
insolation will be the same as today's. Generally sunny climates
have more correlation than mixed climates.
Diffuse / Direct Ratio - The ratio of diffuse to direct radiation in the measured global
horizontal insolation. Used to calculate the insolation on the
tilted array. NSol! uses the Page correlation to determine this
ratio as a function of the clearness factor.

Diffuse Radiation - The component of the insolation striking the array which comes
from a part of the sky other than the sun itself (caused by
diffusion though clouds and the atmosphere itself.)
Direct radiation - The component of the solar insolation which comes directly fr om
the sun.
DOD - Depth of Discharge. The measure of how deep a battery has
been discharged. DOD = 1 - SOC. Maximum DOD for a typical
lead acid cell is 80% (without causing serious damage), so the
minimum SOC for a lead acid battery is assumed to be 20%.
Extraterrestrial Insolation - The amount of solar radiation that strikes a surface outside the
earth's atmosphere. Used to calculate the clearness ratio.

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NSol ! PV SYSTEM SIZING PROGRAM

Global Horizontal Insolation - Insolation as measured by a horizontall y mounted


pyranometer. Typically expressed in Langleys, MJ/m2 or
kWh/m2. NSol! uses the latter for its calculations.
Insolation - Solar radiation.
Isc - Short Circuit Current -- a measure of PV modules, typically
found on the data sheet
Ityp - Typical operating current of a PV module, also call peak power
current. Typically found on the datasheet.
Kilowatt-hours - A measure of electrical consumption or production. One kilowatt
hour is one kilowatt for one hour.
KT_Bar - Clearness factor
kWh - Kilowatt-hour abbreviation
LOLP - Loss of Load Probability
Loss-of-Load-Probability - A measure of the reliability of a PV system. The LOLP in NSol !
is expressed as the percentage of "month-days" which will
experience an outage. Example - a value of 1.0% in October
means that the load will be disconnected once every 100
"October" days. Since October has 31 days this is approximately
once every three years.

Markov Transition Matrix - A matrix which gives estimates for the probability that the
insolation value for the next day will be at level "j" given that it
was at level "i" today. Used in the NSol ! statistical LOLP
calculations.
Module - A single PV module, typically 12 V and 40 to 60 watts.
Monobloc - A package with numerous battery cells in series. An automotive
battery is en example of a monobloc. (See "cell".)
MTM - Markov Transition Matrix
Photovoltaics - The process of converting solar energy directly into electricity.
PV - Photovoltaics
PVs - What right-handed people call Photovoltaics
Reflectance - The percentage of insolation that strikes the ground which is
reflected. A sandy desert or snowy field would have a higher
reflectance than a grassy field or a puddle of mud.
SOC - State-of-Charge. The amount of energy remaining in a battery
as a percentage of its overall capacity.
Sigma Ratio - see variability
Temperature - Ambient - The temperature in an open outdoor space. NSol ! uses monthly
average ambient temperatures to derate battery capacities.
Tilt Factor - The correction applied to the Global Horizontal Inso lation used
to determine the insolation on the tilted array.

20
NSol I PV SYSTEM SIZING PROGRAM

Variability (Insolation) - A measure of the "steadiness" of the solar insolation. The ratio
between the standard deviation (sigma) and the average value
(mean) for the month.
Voc - Open Circuit Voltage. The voltage of a PV module with no load
connected to it. Typically found on PV module data sheets.
Vtyp - Operating voltage of a PV module at its peak power. Typically
16-18 volts for a 12 volt nominal module.

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NSol I PV SYSTEM SIZING PROGRAM

Sizing References
L. L. Bucciarelli, "Estimating Loss-of-Power Probabilities of Standalone Photovoltaic Solar Energy
Systems," Solar Energy Vol 32, No. 2, pp. 205-209, 1984
L. L. Bucciarelli, "The Effect of Day-today Correlation in Solar Radiation on the Probability of Loss-ofPower
In a Standalone Photovoltaic Energy System," Solar Energy Vol
36, No. 1, pp. 11-14, 1986
R. J. Aguiar, et al, "Simple Procedures for Generating Sequences of Daily Radiation Values Using a Library
of Markov Transistion Matrices," Solar Energy Vol 40, No. 3, pp.
269-279, 1988
"The Frequency Distribution of Daily Insolation Values," Solar Energy Vol 27, pp. 1-5, 1981 DT
Reindl, et al, "Diffuse Fraction Correlations," Solar Energy Vol 45, No. 1, pp. 1-7, 1990

Insolation References
"Solar Radiation Data Manual for Flat-Plate and Concentrating Solar Collectors"
Document # NREL/TP-463-5607
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
1617 Cole Blvd
Golden, CO 80401-3393
USA
Phone: (303) 275-4099

"International Solar Irradiation Database"


University of Massachusetts-Lowell
Photovoltaic Program
1 University Ave
Lowell, MA 01854
USA

"National Solar Radiation Database"


National Climactic Data Center
Asheville, NC
Phone (704) 259-0682

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