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PV Panel Factors in Revit

Introduction:

Using Insight, you can easily explore the impact and interaction between several design variables that affect the photovoltaic potential of the surfaces in your model. The inter-related Factors available to explore in the Insight Interface include:

  • PV - Panel Efficiency
  • PV - Payback Limit
  • PV - Surface Coverage

 

This video shows the workflow for setting a value or range of the factors that impact PV potential.

 

Workflow Steps:

Open the Project with Shading Elements

View Insight Results for the Model

  • If needed, generate insights for this model
    • Click the Analyze tab and create the energy model.
    • Generate insights.
  • Click Optimize to access the results
  • Open the Shading Devices Comparison insight.

Apply the Baseline Scenario and Open the Desired Model

  • Choose the Baseline Scenario from the Scenarios menu in the Model Comparison pane.
  • Open the Classroom-WithShades model from the list of models included in this insight.

View the Potential Effect of PV – Surface Coverage

  • Scroll down the Insight interface to view the PV – Surface Coverage factor.
  • Note the range of values being considered in the current settings.
  • Click the factor to edit the settings for PV – Surface Coverage
  • Hover the pointer over each of the points representing an option for the surface coverage to see the effect on EUI or Annual Cost associated with that option.

Select the Range of Values to be Considered for the PV – Surface Coverage factor

  • Drag the handles at the left and right ends of the factor range to select 0% coverage.

The PV-Surface Coverage factor should include:

  • The percentage of total roof area that could be covered by PV panels if they were economically attractive.
  • A reduction to allow space for maintenance access, rooftop equipment, and system infrastructure.
  •  Note how the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new value for this factor.
  • Also, note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) compares to the ASHRAE 90.1 and Arch 2030 baselines following this change.

If the Surface Coverage graph shows a horizontal straight line, this indicates that no PV panels are being placed because the PV potential of the roof surfaces is too low to justify placing panels on them given the current assumptions for the panel efficiency and required payback period.

When the surface coverage is 0%, no surfaces are allowed to be covered with PV panels, so the payback limit and panel efficiency graphs display a horizontal straight line – the impact of these factors is never considered.

  • Drag the handles at the left and right ends of the factor range to select 90% coverage.
  • Note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new value for this factor.
  • Also, note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) compares to the ASHRAE 90.1 and Arch 2030 baselines following this change.
  • Close the PV-Surface Coverage factor to apply the selected range of settings.

View the Potential Effect of PV-Panel Efficiency

  • Scroll down the Insight interface to view the PV-Panel Efficiency factor.
  • Note the range of values being considered in the current settings.
  • Click the factor to edit the settings for PV-Panel Efficiency factor.
  • Hover the pointer over each of the points representing an option for the panel efficiency to see the effect on EUI (or Annual Cost) associated with that option.

Select the Range of Values to be Considered for the Panel Efficiency

  • Drag the handles at the left and right ends of the factor range to select the panel efficiencies to be considered in the analysis. For instance, select the middle of the range, an efficiency of 18.6%.

All roof surfaces are evaluated to see if the energy available (as determined by the geometry and the efficiency of the PV panels) will be sufficient to meet the desired payback period. Increasing the efficiency PV panels generally makes more roof surfaces viable for placing PV panels by increasing the amount of energy that can be produced (generating more energy per square foot) to the point where they meet the payback limit desired. Conversely, decreasing the panel efficiency may cause some roof panels to be eliminated from consideration because they no longer meet the payback requirements.

The effect seen of changes in the Panel Efficiency factor is often limited by the settings chosen for the Payback Limit factor, because potential roof surfaces must also meet the payback requirements in order to contribute to reducing the predicted EUI mean.

If portions of the PV-Efficiency graph display a horizontal straight line, this indicates that changing the panel efficiency will not affect the area of PV panels considered, likely due to the PV Surface coverage limitation or PV Payback Limit requirements currently selected.

  • Note how the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new range of values for this factor.
  • Also, note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) compares to the ASHRAE 90.1 and Arch 2030 baselines following this changes.
  • Close the PV-Panel Efficiency factor to apply the selected range of settings.

View the Potential Effect of PV – Payback Limit

  • Scroll down the Insight interface to view the PV – Payback Limit.
  • Note the range of payback years being considered in the current settings.
  • Click the factor to edit the settings for the PV – Payback Limit factor.
  • Hover the pointer over each of the points representing an option for the payback period to see the effect on EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) associated with that option.

Select the Range of Values to be Considered for the PV – Payback Limit

  • Drag the handles at the left and right ends of the factor range to select the payback period to be considered in the analysis. For instance, try selecting a range from 20 to 30 years.

All roof surfaces are evaluated to see if the energy available (as determined by the geometry and the efficiency of the PV panels) will be sufficient to meet the desired payback period. Roof surfaces may not meet a payback limit if the electricity in the area is very cheap or the building does not receive enough sun exposure.

As the payback limit is increased, less efficient areas of the roof become viable, and typically, more of the potential PV surface coverage area will qualify and be considered as contributing to the PV energy available. To consider a larger area of roof surfaces for PV panels, try extending the payback period to a larger number of years.

If portions of the PV-Payback Limit graph display a horizontal straight line at EUI = 0, this indicates that given the geometry of the roof surfaces and the efficiency of the PV panels, no roof surfaces are viable within that range of payback limits.

  • Note how the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new range of values for this factor.
  • Also, note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) compares to the ASHRAE 90.1 and Arch 2030 baselines following this changes.
  • Close the PV-Payback Limit factor to apply the selected range of settings.

Note you can review the impact each of these changes by hovering over the Model History. You can see the effect on the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) as well as the range of potential values. In this case, note that changing the PV-Payback limit had the largest effect on changing the range of potential EUI values. 

 

Exercise:

In this exercise, you are going to understand PV energy production and spaces that are susceptible to higher loads. We will walk you through changing some of the settings, then ask you a few questions about the results and what they mean.

Download Data Sets : Revit 2017 - Audubon_PV Potential_Factors.rvt

Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open Audubon Center model in Revit
  2. Open the Location tool and set Project Location
    • Change Project Address to Columbus, OH
    • Select Weather Station 42407
  3. Generate insight and then, click Optimize to view the results.
  4. For the first scenario, we will just create the baseline scenario
    • Set a range or value for the following factors:
      • Operating Schedule: 12/6
      • Lighting Efficiency: 0.3 - 0.7 W/sf
      • Plug Load Efficiency: 0.6 W/sf
      • HVAC: ASHRAE Heat Pump
    • Save this scenario and rename it as Baseline
  5. For the second scenario, change the following factors:
    • Set the value of the PV-Surface Coverage factor to 90%
    • Save this scenario and rename it as 90%Coverage
    • Note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new value for this factor.
  6. For the third scenario, change the following factors:
    • Set the value of the PV-Surface Coverage factor to 60%
    • Save this scenario and rename it as 60%Coverage
    • Note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new value for this factor.
  7. For the fourth scenario, change the following factors:
    • Set the value of the PV-Efficiency to 20.4%
    • Save this scenario and rename it as 60%Coverage_&_20.4%Eff
    • Note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new value for this factor.
  8. For the fifth scenario, change the following factors:
    • Set a range or value for the following factors:
      • PV - Surface Coverage: 90%
      • PV - Panel Efficiency: 20.4%
    • Save this scenario and rename it as 90%Coverage_&_20.4%Eff
    • Note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new value for this factor.
  9. For the sixth scenario, change the following factors:
    • Set a range or value for the following factors:
      • PV - Surface Coverage: 90%
      • PV - Panel Efficiency: 16%
    • Save this scenario and rename it as 90%Coverage_&_16%Eff
    • Note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new value for this factor.
  10. For the seventh and last scenario, change the following factors:
    • Set a range or value for the following factors:
      • PV - Surface Coverage: 90%
      • PV - Payback Limit: 10 yr
      • PV - Panel Efficiency: 20.4%
    • Save this scenario and rename it as 10yr_PaybackLimit
  11. Compare the results of these scenarios
    • Click the Scenario compare button above the model viewer.
    • Review the results of the different scenarios by comparing the heights of the bars in the Scenario Comparison window.
    • Hover over individual bars in the graph to view the name and EUI mean (or Annual Cost) for each scenario in the comparison.
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