Making solar thermal systems less expensive, often results in a lower system efficiency. However, the cost-benefit ratio is relevant from the perspective of the consumer. The complex impact of component-related and system-related design parameters on the economics of a complete system makes the evaluation and economical optimization difficult. Therefore, a complete simulation environment has been developed, which can automatically optimize solar-thermal systems, including collector and system parameters. The main collector module consists of a one-dimensional thermal model that was validated with a commercial solar collector. The efficiency curve and the production cost were calculated as a function of several design and construction parameters. The collector module was linked to the commercial software Polysun®, so that parametric studies can be performed with minimal effort. Optimization problems can be solved by using the Matlab® optimization toolbox. The simulation environment was used for sensitivity studies and optimization problems in order to analyze the impact of collector design-parameters with respect to system cost, system yield and economic values. We will demonstrate how a collector can be optimized and how the ideal system parameters like collector number and storage volume can be easily calculated. Finally, we will show how the optimizer is used for a given system in order to find ideal values for the absorber-sheet thickness and the number of pipes. Due to the holistic approach, the application of this tool set can be used for collector development as well as for system planning.
Polysun, the leading software for planning and simulating building-integrated energy systems has just become even better. After the recent release of the Swiss software maker Vela Solaris, its performance improved further.
Users of Windows can now choose between a 32- and a 64-bit version. The 64-bit version can use more RAM, making the simulation of complex hydraulic schemes even smoother. Installing the software on Mac OS computers was also made easier.
Network licenses that can be used flexibly will make the administration of licenses by companies and educational institutions more user-friendly. The big advantage of the network license is that it can be used on more computers than the number of licenses that was purchased. For example, all office employees can use Polysun on their respective computers, even though just one license was bought – as long as they don’t use it at the same time.
An innovative feature makes the use of new system variants even simpler: single components from existing energy concept templates can now be chosen and copied. Afterwards, they can be inserted in user-defined hydraulic schemes, keeping their settings. This speeds up working with Polysun Designer considerably.
As they now work more quickly and efficiently, Polysun users will spend less time in front of the screen. Additionally, the new, optional dark mode will help users to focus and will be a relief for their eyes.