The Meadowbrook Tutorial
This tutorial guides new users through a quick simulation of a small tracker system. It's also a great tour of SolarFarmer's basic structure and features.
By the end of this tutorial new users will be able to do the following:
- Upload weather, module, and inverter files.
- Create a layout and string it with inverters
- Calculate annual yield and a generate a loss tree diagram.
Visit SolarFarmer's portal page (https://renewableenergysoftwareportal.dnv.com/Home/Authenticated) to download the files to use for this tutorial.
Open SolarFarmer to start a new project.
Define site location
The first page you'll see is the Site location page.
Click the Choose… button to open the location wizard (see image below).
It takes a second for location wizard to come up, requires an internet connection.
Once the location wizard opens, you need to set a location. There are two ways you can do this:
Search by latitude and longitude
Copy and paste "
42.8610979, -70.9982836" and the click Set site location at this point.
Search by name
Meadowbrook airport" into the search by name… field. Results will appear as you type. Selecting a search result from the list will zoom to the correct location of the map. You will then need to right click on the map and click Set the site location here.
Once you've set the location, click Next to move to the next step in the wizard.
Set the Projection System.
It's recommended to use the default Projection System settings. These have been automatically set by the site location.
Click Next and wait for the Roads map imagery to download.
Once downloading has finished, use the rectangle selection tool on the toolbar to select an area around the site for which you want to download detailed map imagery data.
Click the start download button (you can download more data later if needed).
Click Finish to end the wizard and return to site location page.
View Map background / terrain data
On the Map backgrounds/terrain page you can see the files that have been downloaded.
You can import more background / terrain data here if you need to.
Define Horizon line
Go to the Horizon line page and click the Generate… button. You may need to download more terrain tiles for the far-shade radius.
Click the Auto-download required terrain tiles button that appears at the bottom of the Error box on the right hand side.
Click Generate horizon button.
You can edit, import, or export horizon data.
Define climate and solar resource
Define solar resource
Go to the Solar resource page.
You can Download or Import solar resource data (see screenshots below for both options).
To download data click the Download… button (This takes you to DNV's solar irradiance comparison tool – Solar Resource Compass).
(Above) Screenshot of DNV SolarResource Compass
To import data (e.g. TMY3) click the Import… button.
You can view any warnings in the Loading report tab and the monthly statistics in the Monthly summary tab (see screenshot below).
(above) warning shown in this example for illustration purpose only
Either leave this set as 0.2 for the Annual Albedo Value or set using Monthly Albedo Values.
More information can be found in the SolarFarmer help by clicking the question mark within the Albedo section.
Define shading obstacles
Draw shading obstacles
Go to Shading obstacles page
Use the polygon tool to elevate the trees to the south. Draw the outline of the desired shape, then close the polygon by clicking the first point again.
You can collapse the menu on the left hand side to increase the map size on the screen.
Set the height to 20m in the Shading Region Objects table.
Define PV module
Click the Import button to select a PV module PAN file
Select the 'Trina_TSM…' PAN file provided with this tutorial and click open. You'll now see the PV module properties.
Now select the Electrical Configuration tab (see image below)
Click the Set modeling correction factor to default button
Click the Import button to select an Inverter OND file
Select the 'SMA_SC630CP' OND file provided with this tutorial and click open. You'll now see the Inverter properties.
Go to String length page
Set the Extreme low temperature to -5 °C (See screenshot below).
Ensure 18 is entered for the String length (modules per string) in the table. (See screenshot below).
Click the Add new button to create a new Tracker.
Module dimensions should be automatically match the imported Trina PV module, (if not click Use module specification… button)
Make sure Enable backtracking is checked
In the Tracker Template Properties section, Add a new template (green plus icon).
Set the Length of Trackers row to 18 modules set to match the string size
Setting the tracker size to match the string length ensures that you will be able to string all of the modules in the system to inverters.
Skip the inverter blocks page for this tutorial. These are used to save time in very large layouts by repeating a common pattern.
Go to the Transformer page.
Click the Add new button to create a new Transformer.
Design Layout Plant
Go to the Design layout page
Select the option Use single-axis trackers to start
Place a Transformer anywhere on the map using the Add Transformer button on the toolbar.
Next place an Inverter on the map using the Add inverter button on the toolbar.
Draw a layout region by selecting the Add layout region (orange rectangle and plus) tool
You can use the edit boundary (polygon w/pencil) tool to adjust shape of the layout region or use the polygon layout region (orange polygon and plus) tool to draw an irregular shaped region.
Change the Tracker System to select the Tracker you added earlier
In the next column in the same table, change the Placement Mode to Follow Terrain
Select the racks / trackers using the select racks tool (polygon with grey rectangle and arrow).
With this tool selected, draw a polygon around the racks, completing the selecting by ending on the first point you started with.
Select align to top and then click the Clear button to clear the selection
Select the assign inverters tool (polygon with green arrow and inverter symbol)
With this tool selected, draw a polygon around the racks, completing the selection by ending on the first point you started with.
They will change to the same color as inverter (White for 1st inverter) to show which inverter they are assigned to.
Inverters are listed on the Inverters tab below the layout.
If any racks are unassigned, they will be grey, and an error will warn you there are racks with unassigned modules.
If you zoom into the PV plant with the scroll wheel on the mouse or the magnifying glass on the toolbar you can now see the strings.
Set DC Coll Effect (DC losses) to -1.5%
You can view site statistics by clicking the Stats button.
A Site statistics window will pop up.
Setup yield calculation
Set the Module mismatch effect to -1.1% (see image below)
Set the Grid availability to 0% (see image below)
In the Disable Models section Disable the spectral and bifacial models.
Save the workbook by clicking File > Save as and give it a name e.g.: "Meadowbrook".
You need to save the workbook before running a simulation
Select 2D (simple model) for the Calculation type option
Select Local computer for the Run calculation option
Click the Run calculation button to start running the calculation
View Yield summary
View Effects diagram (loss tree)
End of the tutorial.