OpenSolar updates 3D design and sales software


OpenSolar released the 2.0 version of its free rooftop solar design and sales software platform.

OpenSolar said it worked with PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to test and validate the design product.

OpenSolar’s rooftop design tool uses 3D modeling.
Image: OpenSolar

NREL compared OpenSolar’s remote 3D tool with assessments made on the same roof by SunEye, the global leader in hand-held shade assessment, and found that the OpenSolar accuracy was within a 3% margin of error.

PVEL was tasked with evaluating the tool’s assessment of pitch and scale. OpenSolar’s model was accurate to within 1.3 feet in its assessment of scale. The tool also assessed pitch to within 4 degrees of accuracy 97% of the time. 

The company’s energy modeling system, or the estimated production based on key inputs like pitch, azimuth, and shading, is based on NREL’s System Advisor Model (SAM). When compared with SAM, PVEL found that OpenSolar’s model is consistent with standard engineering practices. Its production figures were found to within 0.2% of SAM estimates, and within 2% of PVsyst model estimates.

“Our assessment of OpenSolar’s software confirms that its implementation of the SAM energy production model engine is accurate and in line with industry standards for residential and commercial projects and its 3D ray tracing calculations of beam shading are as good or better than other available products,” said Ryan Desharnais, chief technical officer of PVEL.


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