First Solar’s PlantPredict: a solar energy modeling tool
PlantPredict from First Solar is designed to develop energy estimates applications. The Version 5 includes several new features. Most notable of the new features is batch processing capability, which allows users to run up to 350 predictions at once while varying DC/AC, azimuth, tilt angle or GCR between runs. First Solar also released a publicly available international data source from NASA-SSE.
PlantPredict offers users the option to import plane-of-array irradiance (POAI) in weather files. This is a tool for users who have measured or modeled POAI and wish to bypass the transposition model (and its associated error). On the backend, the algorithm uses the NREL developed GTI-DIRINT model to estimate diffuse and direct irradiance from POAI for shading calculations. First Solar added also a 3-D DC Field visualization tool to aid users in seeing how their inputs affect the layout of the DC Field both with and without slopes. (nhp)