Photovoltaic Analysis Software – Analysis Software for Photovoltaic System Design

RETScreen clean energy project analysis software is a software often used in China to calculate the inclination angle and power generation of photovoltaic power generation systems. It is a unique decision support tool developed with funding from the Government of Canada. The software is completely free and provides Chinese support. At its core are standardized energy analysis models that can be used globally to assess energy efficiency, energy production, energy savings, life cycle costs, GHG emissions reductions, and financial risks of various renewable energy technologies.

RETScreen energy engineering models can be developed in EXCEL.’s work files, which in turn consist of a series of worksheets. The PV project model includes 6 worksheets, namely: Energy Model, Solar Resource and System Load Calculation, Cost Analysis, Greenhouse Gas (Emission Reduction) Analysis, Financial Summary and Sensitivity and Risk Analysis.

The Energy Model and Solar Resource and System Load Calculation Worksheets are used to calculate the annual output of PV plants based on local site conditions and system performance. The Solar Resource and System Load Calculation Worksheet is used to connect the Energy Model worksheet to calculate the energy load and energy savings of the PV system.

Cost analysis refers to the initial investment or investment, and annual or recurring costs, and can refer to the product database for relevant information to understand the required price and other information. Greenhouse gas analysis: You can choose whether to perform a greenhouse gas analysis. If analysis is required, certain data needs to be entered into a financial summary worksheet to calculate the revenue and cost of GHG reductions.

Financial Summary: The financial summary is used to evaluate each energy engineering project. Typically a financial summary worksheet consists of 6 sections: annual energy balances, financial parameters, project costs and savings, financial viability, annual cash flow and cumulative cash flow graphs. Among them, Annual Energy Balance and Project Costs and Savings provide a summary of the associated energy model, cost analysis, and GHG emission reduction analysis worksheets for each research project. Financial feasibility provides financial indicators of the energy engineering project under analysis. This indicator is based on the data entered by the user in the financial parameters. Annual cash flow can visualize pre-tax, post-tax, and cumulative cash flow trends over the project period.

Sensitivity and Risk Analysis: This worksheet can evaluate the sensitivity changes of the main financial indicators of the project after the current major economic and technical indicators have changed. Both sensitivity analysis and risk analysis provide the relationship between key parameters and the main financial indicators of the project, and show which parameter changes have the greatest impact on financial indicators. Sensitivity analysis (including Monte Carlo simulations) is aimed at general users, while risk analysis is aimed primarily at users who understand statistics. Both analyses are optional, and their analysis results have no effect on the analysis and results of other worksheets.

Tools also include product, weather and cost databases, online manuals, websites, engineering manuals, engineering case studies, training courses, and more. The global weather database in the software comes from NASA.

The RETScreen software is developed by the Canadian National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This software is very powerful and runs fast. It can also perform optimal matching analysis for power supply systems that mix multiple renewable energy sources to achieve optimal system configuration. At the same time, there are many types of optional items, such as power supply system, heating system, cooling system and hybrid system. The disadvantage is that there are few system configuration schemes proposed, and it is difficult to find the optimal structure configuration that meets the user load conditions: input specific latitude and longitude, and the meteorological data seems to be on the high side. Readers should experience it carefully, and can use some other software to analyze and compare the calculation results, so as to learn from each other’s strengths.

Read more: AC Electrical System Design for Photovoltaic Power Plants