How to optimize solar panel positions in Revit 2020 using Autodesk Insight

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Introduction

The tool to use to optimise the position and orientation of solar panels on your building is the Solar Analysis tool inside the Insight Revit add in.

Installation

First step is to download the Insight Revit addin. The addin can be downloaded by visiting the main Insight website: https://www.autodesk.com/products/insight/overview

Then select the Download tab.

1. Solar - download tab - Copy

In the download tab you can then download the appropriate addin version. In this case we downloaded the Revit 2020 addin.

2. Solar - for Revit 2020 - Copy

Once downloaded install the add in. Just make sure Revit is closed when installing.

3. Solar - install the Insite app - Copy

Once installed you can open Revit and when going to the Analyze Tab you’ll see the Insight panel.

4. Solar - Insight app - Copy

Just remember that you need a AEC Collection subscription to use the Insight Cloud service. More on the AEC collection please visit: https://www.mgfx.co.za/cad-software/autodesk-aec-collection/

Model Preparation.

In order to do the Solar analysis you need to make sure the ‘sun’ is in the correct position. To do so you need to first locate your project in the world and then orientate your project in relation to North.

Location.

To locate your project, select the Manage Tab and Location as shown.

5. Solar - Position - Copy

A dialogue box will appear in which you can add the Project address. Add your address. In this case I used the standard one for this project which is Boston in the USA.

6. Solar - adress - Copy

Then make sure that the sun orientation is set up on your project. To do this go to the project’s Site View. In the View Properties set the Orientation Parameter to True North.

7. Solar - set true north - Copy

Once set go to the Manage Tab and select Rotate True North tool as shown.

8. Solar - rotate true north - Copy

Add the angle that the Project North and True North differ. In this case its 37 degrees.

9. Solar - add angle between vertically up and north angle - Copy

10. Solar - difference - Copy

Once this is set the Project is set so that North is pointing upward and that allows the sun to be in the correct orientation.

Solar Analysis

On the Analyze Tab select the Solar tool. A Solar Analysis dialogue box will appear.

11. Solar - start

Set the Study Type to Annual PV. Click Update.

12. Solar - Study Type

You will see the result in the 3D view. I changed the View Style to Hidden and selected Update on the dialogues box once more. You will also see the legend and the Energy Production and savings calculations for all the roof surfaces. You can also only select only some of the surfaces and then the results should be more accurate.

13. Solar - result

Conclusion

Using this tool is very fast and easy and will quickly show you where you should mount your solar panels to get the most out of them.

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