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Evaluating PV Potential in Revit

Introduction:

You can assess the amount of solar radiation available to any surface of your building design in the Revit application as well as in Insight web interface. You can use the Solar analysis tool in Revit or generate Insight and visualize the PV Potential in the Insight Model Viewer.

This information is helpful for determining the solar radiation load as well as the potential for generating energy through photovoltaic panels on any surface of your model.

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

  • Evaluate the Levels of Solar Radiation Available- Calculate PV Potential of Building Surfaces using Revit Plug-In
  • Visualize PV Potential using Insight interface

This video shows the workflow for evaluating the PV potential of a building in Revit and in Insight.

 

Workflow Steps: 

Open the Model

Verify the Project Location

  • Open the Location dialog from the Analyze or Manage tab, and verify the settings:
    • Columbus, OH
    • Weather Station: 42407
  • Click OK to apply settings or close the window.

Open the Solar Analysis Tool and Choose the Type of Study

  • Click the Analyze tab.
  • Open the Solar tool from within the Insight panel.
  • Select the type of study to be conducted: Solar Energy – Annual PV.

You can customize the Study settings by clicking the gear button to the right of the Study Type menu and then, enter the assumptions to be used for this study.

Select the Model Surfaces to be Considered

  • Select the surfaces to visualize the results.
  • From the surfaces menu, choose:
    • All Roof Exterior Surfaces
    • All Mass Faces
    • User Selection

If you are working with a mass model, you might want to choose <User Selection>, then use the arrow tool to add or remove surfaces from the selection in your model. You can modify your selection by clicking the arrow button in the Solar Analysis dialog; then, add or remove surfaces using the arrow tool and click Finish in the Options bar when done.

Run the Solar Analysis

  • Click Update to run the Solar Analysis.

When complete, the Solar Analysis window displays:

  • PV Energy Production
  • Energy Savings
  • PV Panel Area
  • PV Payback Period

The Revit model displays a color shaded visualization of the Solar Potential on the model surfaces.

You can customize the way the results are display by expanding the Results Settings (the downward arrow at the bottom left-hand side of the Solar Analysis window) and choose the information display and the units used. You could also export the results to a CSV file.

Set the Energy Settings for Building Element Models

  • Go to the Analyze tab and open Energy Settings.
  • In the Energy Analytical Model section, select the Building Elements mode.
  • Click OK to apply settings.

Create the Energy Model

  • Go to the Analyze tab and click Create Energy Model.

If prompted, confirm that you want to Create the Energy Analytical Model.

Generate Insight for this Model

  • Click the Analyze tab and click Generate.
  • Then, select Use Existing Energy Analytical Model.
  • Click OK to analyze your model.

Access Insight Results

  • Click Optimize to access the results

Visualize the Solar Performance in the Insight Model Viewer

  • Open the Visualize menu and choose PV Analysis.

The model viewer displays a color shaded visualization of the PV Energy Potential on the model surfaces.

  • Select different surfaces of the model to display:
    • The surface area
    • The relative percentage of the total roof area
    • The energy generating potential of the surface
    • The payback period for this surface

 

Exercise:

Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open the  Audubon_Site_PV Potential.rvt
  2. Open the Location tool and set Project Location
    • Change Project Address to Columbus, OH
    • Select Weather Station 42407
  3. Perform a Solar Analysis in Revit
    • From the Analyze tab, open the Solar Analysis tool in the Insight panel.
    • Select the Solar Analysis settings
    • For the Study Type, select Solar Energy - Annual PV
    • For Surfaces, choose <user selection> and select all the faces of the Audubon building
  4. Perform a Solar Analysis in Revit
    • From the Analyze tab, open the Solar Analysis tool in the Insight panel.
    • Select the Solar Analysis settings
    • For the Study Type, select Solar Energy - Annual PV
    • For Surfaces, choose <user selection> and select only the roof of the Audubon building
    • Click Finish to complete the selection 
  5. Set Results Settings to the following
    • Type: Cumulative Insolation, display in BTU/ft2
    • Style: Solar Analysis Annual Insolation
  6. Click Update to run the Solar Analysis
  7. Generate insight and view the PV Potential
  8. Click the central roof surfaces to display the PV System Surface data and note the:
    • Surface Area
    • Roof Area
    • Surface Energy
    • Surface Payback Period
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