BIM tools to overcome main issues for the design and installation of a photovoltaic system

A photovoltaic system design and installation requires good coordination between various stakeholders (client, designer, installer, etc.) and it is of fundamental importance. In fact, designers, technical experts and suppliers must be aligned while communicating and cooperating in an effective manner.

Photovoltaic system: Finally a BIM technology applied to solar PV modelling

 

A good approach is therefore to consider the design and implementation process as unitary project management that can be easily pursued using BIM technology.

The design process can be improved at an early stage, already when the object model is created, involving all stakeholders in the process development. Designers (in collaboration with architects and following the hypotheses adopted) can determine the position of objects / volumes, the passage of cables or even the position of system devices.

In traditional design you would normally be working on the source file of the design documentation. This does not allow an immediate integration in terms of changes, corrections, updates and observations. On the contrary, with a BIM methodology, all documents are in one “place“, and changes can be recorded and checked in real time!

Models thus obtained can be used for calculations, simulations, analyses and reports, allowing simultaneous verification and editing. All the participants involved with the creation and construction process work on a single digital model and can see the changes and all the updates made by other team members.

Photovoltaic systems: BIM design

 

Photovoltaic system: Finally a BIM technology applied to solar PV modelling

 

Solarius PV BIM version has recently been launched and it is an absolute innovation in the software panorama for the photovoltaic system design. The solar pv software solution is the first of this kind that will allow users to interact with the BIM management workflow in terms of import and export of a model in IFC format.

With Solarius PV the photovoltaic system design meets the proccess of BIM modelling. In fact, this new software version is a proper BIM tool that allows you:

  • to import the digital model of the building in IFC format
  • to design the photovoltaic system on the imported model
  • to export the BIM model with the new system
  • to obtain a BIM model complete with all the information on the building and the system

The new Solarius PV has a new interface and you can easily insert BIM objects into the three-dimensional model. Four main objects for BIM modelling are involved:

  1. the photovoltaic field
  2. the generator
  3. the electric switchboard
  4. the generic volume

 

The photovoltaic field and integration with the BIM model

 

 

With the newly released Solarius PV you can import a BIM model in IFC format from any BIM architectural design authoring software (Edificius, Revit, ArchiCAD, AllPlan, VectorWorks, etc.), or structural software (EdiLus, Tecla, etc.), plant installation software (Edificius -MEP, Revit MEP, etc.), etc.

On the BIM model imported in IFC format you can easily identify the surface where to install the photovoltaic field with a simple mouse click. The useful surface required for the installation of the photovoltaic modules will be obtained from the selected object, with automatic recognition of orientation and tilt.

You can define different installation surfaces on the 3D BIM model (roof, canopy, flat roof, ground, etc.) where to install more photovoltaic fields. Simply click on the object surface where to place modules and automatically data of the areas where to design the photovoltaic field will be defined.

Through an easy surfaces identification, Solarius PV guides you in the design of a photovoltaic field, identifying the number of correct modules according to the defined design criteria. This easy to use software, for example, allows you to identify the solution that can maximize the annual production based on the surface identified or the best solution that can reache maximum power, etc.

The Wizards to design generators and electric switch boards

 

 

The same design philosophy of the system installation in Solarius PV applies to each object.
After positioning the modules on the photovoltaic field, you need to choose and place the generator in the 3D BIM model of the construction. When you position the generator object, a wizard will automatically be launched and guide you in the selection of the designed photovoltaic fields.

Next, you can identify the inverter with the correct electrical compatibility by choosing it from the extensive program archive. At the end the parametric “Generator” object will be completely defined and identified in one or more specific inverters.

The same approach works for the positioning of the electric switch board that thanks to a wizard will guide you to the design of the electrical system through the choice of cables or protection devices in alternating or direct current.

The project objects that define the system are dynamically already connected to each other. If you select a switch board or an inverter you can see the part of the system connected to the object. Project control and view of the system structure is really easy and effective.

Each module contains summary data for identification or connection to inverters and panels.

How to design a photovoltaic system from a DXF, DWG file or without having any BIM model available

If the technical expert does not have a BIM model of the building in IFC format, he can proceed using a drawing in DXF, DWG format or even starting the project without any graphical support.

In these cases, Solarius PV helps you with a specific object that allows you to quickly draw the volume of the building. From the generic volume you can easily select the surface where the photovoltaic field will be installed also thanks to a particular graphic environment that supports you in defining the area’s tilt.

A working drawing dynamically connected to the project and the IFC export

 

 

The new BIM tool properties in Solarius PV create all the project documents from the 3D model with simple cross-section or floor plan lines. Elevation views, floor plans, cross-sections, isometric cut-aways, etc. are automatically obtained from the BIM model and can be dragged with simple drag and drop operations in the working space of the working drawings.

Floor plans, cross-sections, elevation views and other views are consistently modified with any changes made to the BIM model. These changes are also reported in the working space already prepared so that the project drawings are always updated with the latest choices made to the system design.

Even technical and financial reports change with any changes made to the design.

The complete model of the photovoltaic system designed in Solarius PV can be exported in the IFC format to continue the production flow of the digital construction model as required by the BIM process. You can also choose to export to other formats such as OBJ, Sketch up, etc.

 Solarius PV: what’s new

  • New 3D modelling
  • New project drawings from a single 3D input, orientations, shading, tilting, generators, electric switchboards, etc. to easily integrate the system in your architectural project
  • New online archive of parametric objects and 3D blocks
  • New automatic calculation of the photovoltaic field with obstacle recognition, orientation and Tilt identification
  • A unified design procedure for both single and multi-MPPT inverter types
  • New features added to the assisted design wizard for selecting the number of modules, verifying the compatibility of the inverters and general single-line diagram and each individual panel in AC and DC
  • Dynamic connection in the model between module, panel and inverter
  • Addition of new storage systems (TESLA «Powerwall» Lithium battery pack)
  • Automatic import from the PVGIS archive
  • New project drawings automatically generated from the 3D model and always updated with floor plans, cross-sections, elevation views and cut-aways …
  • Working drawings composition with a simple Drag and Drop action
  • Integration with any architectural, structural, plant installation, etc. software like Edificius, Revit®, ArchiCAD® …
  • IFC file import / export, OBJ export, Sketchup integration, etc.
  • Printing with the use of program variables for technical reports, financial reports and models
  • Consumption profiling of the single device by time band
  • New ENF Solar archive for photovoltaic system components
  • New simplified printing model for the client with regard to the technical and financial data of the designed system
  • New multilingual options (English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese) for preparing and managing technical reports, financial reports and single-line diagrams.