General description of the PVsyst Software

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General description of the PVsyst Software

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PVsyst 7.4 is a PC software package for the study, sizing and data analysis of complete PV systems.

It deals with grid-connected, stand-alone, pumping and DC-grid (public transportation) PV systems, and includes extensive meteo and PV systems components databases, as well as general solar energy tools.

This software is geared to the needs of architects, engineers, researchers. It is also very helpful for educational training.


PVsyst 7.4 focuses on complete and precise PV system study with a complete set of tools:


Preliminary design :
Presizing step of a project. In this mode the system yield evaluations are performed very quickly in monthly values, using only a very few general system characteristics or parameters, without specifying actual system components. A rough estimation of the system cost is also available.

For grid-connected systems, and especially for building integration, this level will be architect-oriented, requiring information on available area, PV technology (colors, transparency, etc), power required or desired investment.

For stand-alone systems this tool allows to size the required PV power and battery capacity, given the load profile and the probability that the user will not be satisfied (("Loss of Load"LOL probability, or equivalently the desired "solar fraction").

For Pumping systems, given water requirements and a depth for pumping, and specifying some general technical options, this tool evaluates the pump power and PV array size needed. As for stand-alone systems, this sizing may be performed according to a specified probability that the water needs are not met over the year.

Project Design and simulation

Thorough system design using detailed hourly simulations.

Within the framework of a "project", the user can perform different system simulation runs and compare them. He has to define the plane orientation (with the possibility of tracking planes or shed mounting), and to choose the specific system components. He is assisted in designing the PV array (number of  PV modules in series and parallel), given a chosen inverter model, battery pack or pump.

In a second step, the user can specify more detailed parameters and analyze fine effects like thermal behavior, wiring, module quality, mismatch and incidence angle losses, horizon (far shading), or partial shadings of near objects on the array, and so on.

Results include several dozens of simulation variables, which may be displayed in monthly, daily or hourly values, and even transferred to other software. The "Loss Diagram" is particularly useful for identifying the weaknesses of the system design. An engineer report may be printed for each simulation run, including all parameters used for the simulation, and the main results.

A detailed economic evaluation can be performed using real component prices, any additional costs and investment conditions.

-Grid-connected systems :
System linked to the grid, by default the grid works as an unlimited consumer.
Add load profiles of self-consumption and grid storage to handle self-consumption, peak shaving or weak islanding. The addition of MV and HV transformers and grid limitation lets you manage your system up to the injection point.
-Stand alone systems :
Off-grid systems, defined primarily by the user's neesds.
-Pumping systems :
Off-grid pumping systems, defined by the user's needs in water.


-Meteo Databases :

Creation and management of geographical sites, generation of synthetic hourly data file, visualization of hourly meteorological data, comparison of meteo data, import of meteorological data from several predefined sources or from custom files.

-Component Databases :

Database management of manufacturers and PV components, including PV modules, Inverters, Regulators, Generators, Pumps, etc...


-Tools :
Contains a set of tools to display tables and graphs of meteo data or solar geometry parameters, irradiation under a clear day model, PV-array behavior under partial shadings or module mismatch, optimizing tools for orientation or voltage, etc.
-Measured data :

PV system is running and carefully monitored, this part  permits the import of measured data (in almost any ASCII format), to display tables and graphs of the actual performances, and to perform close comparisons with the simulated variables. This gives a mean of analyzing the real running parameters of the system, and identify even very small irregularities.

Included are also some specific tools useful when dealing with solar energy systems: