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Solar Radiation Windows

 

Note: "solar" windows are available only in Shadow Calculator and Shadow Analyzer, but not in any other product of the Shadow Analyzer Collection.

 

In this topic we consider the general functionality of "solar" windows and their interaction with "3D View" windows. Next topics describe each "solar" window and the contents of its pages in more details.

 

In addition to the multiple 3D View windows that you use to create scenes, define your collector system, and visualize shadows, there are a few specific "solar" windows that allow you to set the climatic parameters of your site, calculate the energy characteristics of your collectors, evaluate the energy losses associated with the shading, compare the annual energy yeld of the different system versions, and implement the complete site analysis and the optimization of your solar project to increase the energy output.

 

Unlike to the case of 3D View windows, which you can open as many as you need to work simultaneously with different scenes or to consider different views of the same scene, you can open only one "solar" window of each type. The set of "solar" windows works dynamically with the collector system of the latest active scene calculating all its energy characteristics. When you activate any 3D view of another scene, "solar" windows implement the calculation cycle again for this "another" scene.

 

Note that "solar" windows have multiple pages, which you can switch right-clicking inside the window or using the numerical keys of your keyboard for the currently active "solar" window. One can say that the set of "solar" windows is an extended dynamically updated information interface of your solar project. You can think of this interface as an extended and very detailed "energy pass" of your solar project.

 

The toolbar Sun and "solar" windows

 

Use the following buttons of the toolbar Sun to open "solar" windows.

 

 

 

After a "solar" window is opened, the corresponding button of the toolbar Sun becomes disabled (grayed). 

 

Here is a screen shot of Shadow Analyzer with the default Scene1. The scene is under editing.

 

 

The first object of the "A: PVM-T2" type is already created and partly edited, but is still unnamed. You see it in the "3D View" window of the Scene1. The pop-up window "Set PV-Strings" opened for this single object # 1 contains 8 PV-strings.

 

You see also two "solar" windows: the "Solar Year" window and the "Solar Table" window. The scene name is added to the title of the "Solar Year" window. The title of "Solar Table" window informs us that the numerical data shown in the table belongs to "Solar Year" window of the "Scene1". All these little details are important, because you can work in a parallel with multiple scenes, and need to know "where you are". 

 

The functionality of "solar" windows

 

To understand the collaboration between "solar" tables, other "solar" windows, and 3D views of scenes, you need to distinguish the currently "active" window (in the usual sense of the Windows system), which title is highlighted, and the "latest active" window of a particular type, which can be active or already inactive but still can determine the reaction of other windows.

 

The "Bird Clear Sky Model" window

 

The "Bird Clear Sky Model" window represents the Bird model of the solar radiation of the clear sky that we use in all our calculations and that is integrated in the "Climate & Irradiance" window. It explains main mechanisms and factors of the absorptance and scattering of the solar radiation in the atmosphere. It shows how the solar radiation depends on the Sun elevation and the state of the atmosphere. It calculates the direct and diffuse components of the solar radiation at the ground level. It shows also the extraterrestrial solar radiation (out of the atmosphere).

 

You can select / change the parameters of the Bird Model using the arrow keys of your keyboard when the window is active. To select a parameter, use the UP / DOWN arrow keys. The selected parameter is marked by a yellow background. You can change the selected parameter using the LEFT / RIGHT arrow keys.

 

The "Bird Clear Sky Model" window is independent of any other window. However, you can import the Bird model parameters of the "Bird Clear Sky Model" window into the "Climate & Irradiance" window to quickly set the climatic parameters of your site uniformly for all months of the year.

 

See details in the topic Bird Clear Sky Model of this chapter.

 

The "Climate & Irradiance" window

 

With the "Climate & Irradiance" window, you can set the climatic characteristics of your site, which include the Bird model parameters for the clear sky radiation (individually for each of 12 months of the year), 12 values of the monthly probabilities of the clear sky, and 12 values of the correction coefficients for the diffuse radiation at the mean cloudiness condition. The window has also its own parameter "Latitude", that is independent from ones of the 3D scene views.

 

If you do not have enough information to set all the parameters of the Bird model for your particular site, use the default settings for the unknown parameters. However, you need to know at least the monthly probabilities of the clear sky of your site (or average amount of sunny hours by months) to calculate the realistic annual energy yield of your solar collectors. 

 

You can select / change the climatic parameters of the "Climate & Irradiance" window using the arrow keys of your keyboard when the window is active. To select a parameter, use the LEFT / RIGHT arrow keys. The selected parameter is marked by a yellow background. You can change the selected parameter using the UP / DOWN arrow keys.

 

Once the climatic parameters are set (or one of them is changed), the "Climate & Irradiance" window recalculates the daily, monthly, and yearly sums of several components of the solar radiation at the ground level. It shows also the sums of the extraterrestrial solar radiation (out of the atmosphere).

 

The sense of your work with the "Climate & Irradiance" window is to construct a realistic general climatic model of your site to use it further for the analysis of the energy characteristics of your particular collector system. The main criteria for this task is the yearly balance of the total solar irradiance on a horizontal surface -- the yearly sum of Tot_H in kWh/m2 per year.

 

The "Climate & Irradiance" window is independent of any other window. It has its own set of the climatic parameters. And each 3D scene also has its own climatic record of the same structure. The "Climate & Irradiance" window does not react automatically on any changes that occur in 3D views or in other "solar" windows. Also other windows do not react on the parameter settings of the "Climate & Irradiance" window. To use the "Climate & Irradiance" window together with your 3D scenes, you can call a notification dialog for the data exchange between different windows.

 

The direction of the data exchange depends on which the window is active:

 

 

 

The climatic information is a part of the scene record like any other scene parameters. It is updated in the dynamic memory of the scene immediately after the transfer. Later, when you save the scene, the climatic information will be saved in the scene file too.

 

 

So you can use the "Climate & Irradiance" window as an intermediate data storage for the exchange of the climatic data between scenes.

 

See details in the topic Climate & Irradiance of this chapter.

 

The "Solar Day" window

 

The "Solar Day" and "Solar Year" windows calculate energy characteristics of the same collector system of the latest active 3D View window. They display warnings if there are no 3D scenes (if the last 3D View window was closed), or if the latest active scene does not contain solar collectors.

 

The "Solar Day" window shows how the energy characteristics of your solar collectors (including the self- and full-shading) vary during a given day, and calculates their daily sums or daily average values. 

 

See details in the topic Solar Day of this chapter.

 

The "Solar Year" window

 

The "Solar Year" window shows how the daily energy characteristics of your solar collectors (including the self- and full-shading) vary during a year, and calculates their yearly sums or yearly average values. 

 

See details in the topic Solar Year of this chapter.

 

The "Solar Table" window

 

The "Solar Table" window is a specific "solar" window that displays the numerical data of the curves of other "solar" windows. Namely, it displays the data of the latest active "solar" window, one of "Bird", "Climate", "Day", or "Year" windows. So it is synchronized with the latest active "solar" window, which in turn can be synchronized with the latest active 3D View window.

 

This window is very useful when you are going to transfer data of your solar project into other applications like MS Excel and MS Word to implement further numerical analysis.

 

See details in the topic Solar Tables of this chapter.

 

Data exchange and the synchronization of the 3D View and "solar" windows

 

Here we summarize the scheme of the data flow and the synchronization between 3D and "solar" windows.

 

The "Bird Clear Sky Model" and "Climate & Irradiance" windows are independent of other windows and are not synchronized with them. You can call a notification dialog for the data exchange between them and other windows.

 

The "Solar Day" and "Solar Year" windows display the characteristics of the collector system of the latest active 3D View window. So they are synchronized with the latest active 3D View window.

 

The "Solar Table" window is a specific "solar" window that displays the numerical data of the curves of other "solar" windows. Namely, it displays the data of the latest active "solar" window, one of "Bird", "Climate", "Day", or "Year" windows. So it is synchronized with the latest active "solar" window.

 

These relationships between windows can be represented by the following symbolic scheme:

 

The transfer of the climatic parameters via the notification dialog box:

 

Automatic update of the recalculated energy characteristics after the scene or view change:

 

Automatic refreshment of the "Solar Table" window:

 

Once something is changed in the active 3D View (or if you activate another 3D View), the "Day" and "Year" windows react first on this changing, and then the "Table" window updates its contents, if it represents data of the "Day" or "Year" window. 

 

Note that the recalculation of the curves of the "Day" and "Year" windows take time.

 

Therefore, if you change the parameters or the coordinates of the scene objects using the Spin controls of the Scene or Location toolbars, it is better to close the "Day" and "Year" windows. In the opposite case, when you intentionally want to observe how the step-by-step changes of the scene parameters change the energy characteristics of your system, please be patient and wait until the "solar" windows will be updated after each your click on the corresponding Spin control.

 

The synchronization mechanism is smart enough not to update the "solar" windows if it is not needed. For example, it ignores any changing of the color or texture attributes. It reacts only on the changing that affects the shading or any other energy characteristic of your collectors. If you activate another 3D view of the same scene with the same date, neither the "Day" nor the "Year" window will be updated. If you activate another 3D view of the same scene with another date, only the "Day" window will be updated. However, when you activate a 3D view of another scene, both the "Day" and "Year" windows will be updated.

 

The page, mode, and parameter settings of "solar" windows

 

The current page number and some other settings of the "solar" windows (like a "spline" or a "cloudiness" mode, or the latest setting of the line thickness -- the width of the graphical curves) are global within a session with Shadow Analyzer. After you close a "solar" window and then open it next time, it displays the same page in the same mode as you left it. 

 

Note that the page and mode settings are individual for each "solar" window (each window remembers its own page and mode), while the latest setting of the line thickness is common for all newly reopening "solar" windows. 

 

The "Bird Clear Sky Model" and "Climate & Irradiance" windows keep also all the latest settings of the climate parameters within a session. So you can close and then reopen them in the same state. It is useful, when you copy the climate of one scene into the "Climate & Irradiance" window, and then plan to transfer it to another scene.

 

The "Solar Day" and "Solar Year" windows also remember their mode settings. However, when you reopen them, they update their contents according to the latest active 3D scene view recalculating all the energy characteristics. In this sense, the "Day" window does not remember its date, it uses the date of the latest active 3D view.