ENGENEXT SOLAR ENGINEER

Your tool for roof-top Solar Grid Design

 

Harnessing solar energy to everyday use is need of the day. Designing roof-top solar grids for a building has never been easier. Engenext Solar Engineer brings the power of roof-top solar grid design to a click of a button in BricsCAD. Simple workflow, minimum complexity and easy-to-learn user interactions makes it compelling case to design Solar grids on the roof tops of buildings.

1         Solar Energy: The future of Energy needs

Solar energy is an infinitely and freely available, pollution free source of energy. Generating electricity from solar energy is an ever-increasing need and clear direction for future. Whereas generating energy from solar farms is a big business, generating energy for every building using roof top solar grids is a very effective way too. Engenext Solar Engineer offers one such tool to design roof-top solar energy generation grids.

2         Introduction

Engenext Solar Engineer is an add-on to BricsCAD, that brings the power of solar grid design at the click of a button within BricsCAD. Targeted for an architect or a civil engineer who designs and constructs buildings, using Solar Engineer makes it easy to include solar grids into the design of a building without any efforts. Engenext Solar Engineer implements a very simple workflow, that does not include too many steps. User interactions are self-explanatory and easy to learn. Complexity is kept to a minimum with the target of laying out the solar panels effectively on the roof top. It can be easily learnt and mastered by an experienced and novice user alike.

It further provides required calculations such as total energy generated and total weight etc, which is essential for the architect and a civil engineer. It is also capable of producing a Bill of materials for solar panels, which is an important document for construction engineer.

3         Engenext Solar Engineer

Engenext Solar Engineer is a program to quickly design a solar grid on top of a roof. It can be used both for houses as well as residential and commercial buildings. The power of Solar Engineer lies in automatically maximizing the coverage while addressing the key challenges of placing the panels such as:

1.       Optimal orientation of a panel with solar direction

2.       Maximum coverage of roof area

3.       Avoiding self-shadowing of panels

4.       Avoiding overspill i.e. a panel protruding out of the roof boundary

3.1       Terminology

Solar Panel

A collection of photo-voltaic cells that forms a fundamental unit of Solar energy generation.

Solar Array

An arrangement of panels on a support surface. This arrangement is treated as single unit of calculating placement of panels

Solar Grid

A collection of Solar Arrays present in one CAD document.

Solar Design

A process of creating a Solar Grid by placing solar arrays on an existing structure.

Solar Project

A CAD document containing a solar grid and additional information about pricing, BOM and other layout drawings

 

3.2       Salient features

1.       Does not disturb existing design

2.       Fully compliant with existing data storage strategies. Model can be shipped to other systems that do not have Solar Engineer installed.  Other systems can open the dwg files containing Solar Grid design, but cannot modify or post process Grid design in absence of Solar Engineer.

3.       No enforced naming convention for Solar design files. Solar grid designs can be stored in any dwg files. Solar Engineer will automatically detect if the file has solar grid design in it. If yes, it will allow to work with them. Else it will ask to start a solar design project in the dwg file.

4.       Multi-session, Multi-document support: Can work with multiple BricsCAD sessions as well as multiple solar documents in a single BricsCAD session. However does not detect if single DWG file is opened in multiple BricsCAD sessions.

3.3       What it does not support

1.       Electrical wiring layout, Grid control panel placement

2.       Tracking and management

4         Installation of Engenext Solar Engineer

4.1       Prerequisites

Hardware

·      Desktop with standard Keyboard, mouse/Monitor Or workstation laptop

·      Pentium i5 or i7 16GB RAM

·      512 GB storage space

Operating System

Windows 10 64 bit professional

CAD Platform

BricsCAD en_US V17 to V20 64 bit Platinum

Office software

Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Edition

 

4.2       Installation privileges and location

This software is intended to be used and upgraded by any user with or without Administrator privileges. However, first time installation requires Administrative privileges.

By default, the software gets installed at C:\Engenext\EGSolar. With administrator privileges, you can change the installation location. The software also creates a folder under C:\ProgramData\EGSolar\Resources to store icons for CUI menu.

Any additional, user specific information is stored under C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming i.e. (%AppData%) folder for the user.

This also adds an entry to on_start.lsp file in ‘Support’ folder of BricsCAD installation in order to hook it into BricsCAD.

This software does not require any predefined location to store DWG files. It automatically identifies if the opened DWG file has Solar Engineer information in it, and works accordingly.

4.3       Installing Solar Engineer

After you have downloaded the installer, please follow these steps to install the same. The steps are pretty much standard. Additions explanation is given wherever required.

1

Right click on the EGSolar installer and click on Run as administrator.

2

Go through the terms and conditions and click on I accept the agreement. ‘Next’ button is enabled. If you do not accept the terms and conditions, Solar Engineer will not be installed on your machine.

Click on Next button to proceed.

 

3

Solar Engineer will be installed in C:\Engenext\EGSolar by default. If you want to change the installation location, click on browse and choose the appropriate location and then click on next. Any updates here onwards, will be installed in the location shown in the text box.

 

4

 This dialog shows the summary of installation for review, before finally installing the software. Click on Install button to install the software. You can use ‘Back’ button to change any settings done before. Till this stage, user can cancel the installation any time by clicking ‘Cancel’ button. System will reconfirm the cancellation before actually cancelling the installation. After clicking the ‘Install’ button, cancellation of installation is not possible.

5

 After the installation is successful, System will show appropriate message and a ‘Finish’ button. Click on Finish button to complete the installation. Installer dialog will close.

Engenext Solar Engineer can now be used through BricsCAD. Please refer subsequent sections to start using Engenext Solar Engineer.

5         Using Engenext Solar Engineer

Engenext Solar Engineer is very easy to use tool with limited number of simple commands. It can work with any DWG file.

5.1       Command overview

Engenext Solar Engineer runs with minimal set of commands as shown here. A quick introduction to command is as follows:

Start Project

Starts new Solar project if not already present

Add Array

Adds a solar array to a project

Edit Array

Edits an existing solar array

Array Info

Provides detailed info on selected array

All Panels

Provides detailed info on all panel specs in the project

All Arrays

Provides detailed info on all arrays in the project

Project Info

Provides detailed info on complete project

EGSolar Help

Opens a Help documentation for Solar Engineer

About EGSolar

Product & Support information, version etc.

 

5.2        Start Design

5.2.1        Description

Solar design project can be started in an active DWG file with this command. If a DWG file already contains a solar project, the command informs accordingly.

5.2.2        Prerequisites

 As the solar grid can be created on planar surfaces of a solid body, a solid model that contains a support surface should be available.

5.2.3        Usage:

Start the command by either:

1.       Type EGSTARTDESIGN on the command line and hit Enter or

2.       Click on EGSolar ->Start Design menu.

3.       A window as shown below pops up.

 

Parameter

Description

Name

Represents the name of the solar project. It can be any alphanumeric text.

Latitude and N/S

Stores the latitude of the location of the site. The latitude value should be between 0 and 90 degrees and N and S indicate whether the site is in northern hemisphere or southern hemisphere.

Solar North

This is the direction representing an imaginary axis around which the sun appears to revolve. This direction need not be same as geomagnetic north.

In UCS set up, this direction will be different from UCS Y direction

… Button

Allows user to select the direction from a straight edge in the model

Currency

It represents the currency in which BOM is to be generated

ü

Click this button to start the project

û

Click this button to cancel the project creation. Once created, a solar project cannot be removed from DWG file

 

5.3        Add Array

5.3.1        Description

Add Array command adds a solar panel array to the project. Solar array is created on a planar surface of a solid body by selecting the surface and clicking a point on surface. Engenext Solar Engineer automatically calculates best fitment of instances of a selected solar panel on a given surface within given boundary. Panels are placed within an array with following constraints

Mandatory constraints:

1.       A solar panel should not shadow other panel in a solar direction.

2.       A solar panel should never go outside the outer boundary of the selected planar surface while viewing from the solar direction.

Other constraints are more of user choices about panel layout (arrayed/ staggered), alignment with solar north/ roof longitudinal direction or panel placement flat on roof/ perpendicular to solar direction. An array uses only one panel specification to lay them on a surface. This ensures uniformity in design. Another array with another panel specification and settings can be designed.

5.3.2        Prerequisites

1.       Solar Project should be created in the DWG file to be able to add an array.

2.       Planar surface of a solid body should be available to place an array.

3.       A surface should not already be having an array placed on it.

5.3.3        Usage

Start the command by either

1.       Type EGADDARRAY on the command line and hit Enter or

2.       Click on EGSolar ->Add Array menu.

A window as shown below pops up.

Parameter

Description

Array Name

The array name is TempPanelsArray by default and is not editable.

Panel Used

Name of the selected panel to be placed in an array. Button … will pop up a separate dialog to enable selection of a panel. Details of the dialog in subsequent section.

Panel Layout

Choose either arrayed or staggered.

Alignment

Choose to align panels with roof longitudinal or solar north.

Placement

Choose to place flat on roof or perpendicular to solar direction.

Number of panels

This value gets generated automatically depending on the area of the surface selected.

Energy generated(watts)

This value gets generated automatically depending on the area of the surface selected and the location of the site.

Total weight(kg)

This value gets generated automatically depending on the area of the surface selected.

Array Location

When we click on the arrow mark in front of the array location, the window closes and in then in the CAD we can select the required surface on which we want to place the panels.

ü

Click this button to save created array.

û

Click this button to cancel the array.

 

5.4       Solar Panel Specification

5.4.1        Introduction

This interaction is not provided as an independent command. It can be accessed as a separate interaction while creating a solar array. This interaction enables defining various panel specifications to be used in a solar project. In addition to physical dimensions, it also stores information about energy generation capacity and weight of a panel. Currently, only a ‘fixed’ type of panel is supported.

5.4.2        Prerequisites

1.       Solar project should be created in the DWG file.

2.       However, as this interaction is started through Array design commands, all prerequisites required for Array design are applicable.

5.4.3        Usage

Start the command by clicking … button in Add/Edit Array dialog.

A window as shown below pops up.

Parameter

Description

+

Adds a new panel with default values

X

Removes a selected panel if not in use

Panel list

Lists all the available panels, used or unused.

Name

The name of the panel is system defined and is not editable. It is PanelSpec.001, PanelSpec.002 and so on.

Width (mm)

Width of a panel in east-west direction

Default value: 40

Height (mm)

Height of a panel in north-south direction

Default value: 60

Thickness (mm)

Panel overall thickness

Default value: 10

Capacity (watts)

Energy generation capacity

Default value: 0

Incident angle range (deg)

Incident angle range within which a panel will be generate energy effectively.

Default value: 0

Weight (kg)

Total weight of a panel. Does not consider weight of supports/fasteners

Default value: 0

Part Number

It is the display name of the panel specification in the BOM.

Its default value is the same as the name of the panel, the only difference being that it is editable.

Cost

Represents cost of a single panel.

Default value: 0.

Panel type

The panels are fixed by default and it is not editable. Panels can come in advanced capabilities such as ability to change orientation in east-west or north-south directions. These panels are externally controlled and impact the calculations for placement and energy generation.

ü

Click this button to save created panels

û

Click this button to cancel the panel editing interaction.

5.5        Edit Array

5.5.1        Introduction

An array can be edited to change either panels used or any of the panel placement selections. User can even change the support surface. Array is calculated again and project information gets updated automatically.

5.5.2        Prerequisites

A solar array should be present in the model. All other prerequisites of having an array in first place, also apply.

5.5.3        Usage

Start the command by either

1.       Type EGEDITARRAY on the command line and hit Enter or

2.       Click on EGSolar ->Edit Array menu.

System asks user to select an existing array. Upon selecting an array, a window pops up. This window is exactly same as that of an ‘Add Array’ command except that it starts with a selected array. Pl refer to Add Array command to understand various UI controls and their behaviour.

Upon clicking ü button, Existing array is edited instead of creating a new one.

5.6        Array Info

5.6.1        Introduction

Array Info command provide information about a selected array. None of the details are editable.

5.6.2        Prerequisites

A Solar array should be present in the DWG file.

5.6.3        Usage

Start the command by either

1.       Type EGARRAYINFO on the command line and hit Enter or

2.       Click on EGSolar ->Array Info menu.

System asks use to select an existing array. Upon selecting an array, a window pops up. This window is exactly same as that of an ‘Add Array’ command except that it starts with a selected array and all fields are read-only. None of the values can be changed. Pl refer to Add Array command to understand various UI controls and their behaviour

Upon clicking ü button, Information window is closed.

5.7        All Panels

5.7.1        Introduction

This command provides information about all panel specifications created in the solar project. User can select a panel from the list to view its information. User can also create new panel specification from this command.

5.7.2        Prerequisites

Solar project should be present in the DWG file.

5.7.3        Usage

Start the command by either

1.       Type EGALLPANELS on the command line and hit Enter or

2.       Click on EGSolar ->All Panels menu.

This window is exactly same as that of an ‘Solar Panel Specification’ interaction, except that all fields are read-only. None of the values can be changed. Pl refer to ‘Solar Panel Specification’ interaction to understand various UI controls and their behaviour.

Upon clicking ü button, Information window is closed.

5.8        All Arrays

5.8.1        Introduction

This command provides information about all arrays present in the Solar project. User can select an array from the list to view its information. User cannot create new array from this command.

5.8.2        Prerequisites

Solar project should be present in the DWG file.

5.8.3        Usage

Start the command by either

1.       Type EGALLARRAYS on the command line and hit Enter or

2.       Click on EGSolar ->All Arrays menu.

The window that pops up is similar to ‘Add Array’ command except that all fields are read-only. List on the left lists all arrays present in the project. User can click one array at a time to see its information.

Upon clicking ü button, Information window is closed.

5.9        Project Info

5.9.1        Introduction

This command provides a complete overview of all arrays created, and all panels defined in the Solar project. It also gives total energy generation capacity and total project price$.

5.9.2        Prerequisites

Solar project should be present in the DWG file.

5.9.3        Usage

Start the command by either

1.       Type EGPROJECTINFO on the command line and hit Enter or

2.       Click on EGSolar ->Project Info menu.

3.       A window as shown below pops up.

 

Parameter

Description

Name

Name of the project as entered while starting the project

Solar parameters

Same as entered while starting the project

BOM Details

Represents the currency in terms of which BOM is to be calculated.

Panels used

Lists all panels defined in the project

Panel

Name of the panel

Count

Total count of panels in the whole project

Grids created

Lists all arrays created in the project

Array

Name of an array

Panels

Number of panels used

Panel Count

Represents the number of panels in given array

Energy

Energy (Watts) generated by an array

Weight

Total weight of an array

Cost

Total cost of an array

Project Summary

Shows a quick summary of project

Total Energy Generated

Total energy generated by all arrays

Total project price

Total price of project

 

BOM

The BOM window pops up when we click on the BOM button.

The price does not include price of other support structure, electrification, control systems, installation, any other material handling, labour etc.

5.9.4        BOM

Parameter

Description

Part Number

Represents the part number of the panel used.

Description

Represents the dimensions of the panel representing the given part number.

Quantity

Represents the quantity of the given part number.

Unit Price

Represents the unit price for the given part number.

Net Price

Represents the total price for the given part number.

Total Price

Represents the total price of the project.

Export to csv

Exports the information from the window to a csv file.

Close

Closes the popup window.

 

 

6          EGSolar Help

6.1.1        Introduction

This command provides help about Engenext Solar Designer. Opens current .chm file.

6.1.2        Usage

Start the command by either

1.       Type EGSHELP on the command line and hit Enter or

2.       Click on EGSolar ->EGSolar Help menu.

3.       Help file is opened in a separate process.

7          About EGSolar

7.1.1        Introduction

This command provides version information, creator company and contact information about  Engenext Solar Designer. It also has a provision to view EULA(End user license agreement).

7.1.2        Usage

1.       Type EGABOUT on the command line and hit Enter or

2.       Click on EGSolar ->About EGSolar menu.

3.       A window as shown below pops up.