SolarPlus Performance Analysis

SolarPlus has been the industry-standard, best-practice design solution to meet Australian requirements since developed in 2012 by Solaris Pty Ltd in partnership with the Australian Solar Council.

In 2017, SolarPlus introduced an advanced performance algorithm which provides best-in-class modelling across a broad range of design configuration options including grid-connect, hybrid/backup battery storage, off-grid, system upgrades and supporting a wide range of load profile and tariff analysis options.

Weather and Irradiance Data

SolarPlus utilizes the world recognised leader in irradiance data, Meteronorm, for reliable weather data including radiation data at an 8km resolution and generated using 20 years of recorded data.

Meteonorm was initiated by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy in 1985 and has developed to provide a global climate database based on ground measurement and satellite weather data and using state-of-the-art interpolation models to produce the Typical Meteorological Year data analysed by SolarPlus.

Solar Performance Simulation

SolarPlus performs an analysis of solar power generation using a module-level simulation that generates the expected module output for any orientation at each hour of the year (8760 hours). The components of direct, diffuse and ground-reflected radiation data from the sun are derated using the Perez model, and factoring shading, glass reflectance, and soiling to arrive at the irradiance impinging on the panel front, and if a bifacial module, adjusted for on the rear surface. Adjustments for temperature and wind for each hour, and accounting for proximity to the mounting surface, provide the derating of the cell according to its manufacturers specifications.

According to the system electrical configuration, module and string voltages and current are modelled with allowance for the variability due to module mismatch, manufacturing tolerances, and cabling losses at each stage of the power transmission. Inverter losses due to tracker and output stage current and power limiting are calculated and inverter efficiency and AC derating factored into the usable energy potential to the site switchboard.

Energy and Savings Simulation

SolarPlus supports energy simulation down to 10 minute resolution in order to simulate performance of battery storage systems, consumption power flows, grid interaction and, for off-grid systems, generator runtime.

Battery system performance is modelled according to the specifications of the manufacturing and factoring roundtrip efficiency, configuration set-point limits, depth of discharge limits, and accounting for battery chemistry characteristics.

Grid interactivity levels are controlled with export limits, set-points for any battery grid charge or battery export and all energy flows accounted according to the electricity tariff structure set for the site including time-of-use, tiered tariffs and demand charge rate.

Lifetime Return on Investment

SolarPlus conducts an assessment of potential payback on investment factoring solar panel degradation, tariff escalation rates, reinvestment amounts in future years, maintenance costs.

More detailed return on investment analysis of lifetime savings can be generated including depreciation, costs of finance, subsidies. Discount rates are applied to estimate an Internal Rate of Return and Net Present Values of the system over the lifetime period.

Carbon emissions reduction is calculated based on grid energy reductions using the state emissions reduction coefficient published by the Australian and New Zealand governments.

About Solaris

Laurie Kane

Solaris principals Glen Morris and Laurie Kane have a combined 40 years experience in the solar and storage industries. Glen Morris sits on the EL042 committee which develops standards for the industry and until recently stood as Vice-President of the Smart Energy Council for 9 years. Laurie Kane has managed solar inspection services as part of the Clean Energy Regulator’s solar audit program and has developed Best Practice training materials for the Smart Energy Council.

Solaris Pty Ltd was founded in 2011 with a mission to help more people switch on to renewable energy solutions.

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