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PV*SOL Frequently Asked Questions

Error Messages

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Database Questions

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Error Messages

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Database Questions

  • How can I find out whether the latest version of the module database is installed on my PC?

    Assuming the license has a current software maintenance agreement then the program will automatically check for updates and additions to the database if you select the from the menu 'Options' > 'Program Options'.

    You are also able to carry out an 'Update Check' manually via the Menu > Help > 'Check for Updates'

    Also further information is found via the Menu > Help > Info.

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  • How do I add modules, batteries or inverters I want to use to the database?

    Manufacturers can add the technical data of their products themselves to the PV*SOL online database. To do so manufacturers first send an email to database@valentin-software.com with their company contact details and then they will be provided with the login details.

    A user can also create custom modules, inverters and battery systems via the PV*SOL Main menu > Database > Module/Inverter. Using the icons at the top of the dialogue, you should then either:

    - create a copy of a similar existing product and rename/alter as required

    - or create a new entry from the icons at the top of the list.

    Only copies can be made of system files which cannot otherwise be altered except be the original manufacturer that uploaded it to the central database. Users can also a request to their equipment distributor to update so that ultimately the manufacturer uploads the correct specification for everyone to access as above. If they have a copy of PV*SOL they can email you a saved project with that module and it’d then appear in your database as well. If you have the specification sheet there is a good chance it’ll be similar to an existing item hence you might start with a database copy of that.

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  • Can data (climate and project data, component database) be accessed centrally by multiple PV*SOL users?

    A server based license is availble upon request. Otherwise PV*SOL is not a server based program. However, since projects contain all the necessary design data, it is simple to store the active projects folder via a server. This can be set via Main Menu > 'Options' > 'Program Options'

    Please note that projects can only be sequentially accessed by users, and not simultaneously i.e. not in parallel.

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  • Where does the data for determining the CO2 savings come from? ('CO2 Emissions avoided' in the project report.)

    The database delivered with the program includes a generic value of 600 g/kWh. This should be adjusted to the applicable country via 'Climate, Grid and System Type' > 'AC Mains'

    Further information for the UK can be found here: https://www.solardesign.co.uk/pvsol_emission_factors.php

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  • The climate data are important for the algorithms in PV*SOL. Is it possible to view the climate data?

    The climate can be exported via the Results Spreadsheets. Here it is possible to get minute/hour/month/year values for 'Irradiance onto horizontal plane' and 'Outside Temperature'. These can also be views via the Results Diagram Editor.

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  • How do I copy over my user-created favourites when changing my program version or transferring my licence?

    This includes favourite modules and inverters. These details are stored in the program's ini files. The relevant items have to be manually copied from one ini file to the other as below:

    • Close both programs
    • Using Windows Files and Folders, navigate to the following directory:
      • C:\Users\\Documents\Valentin EnergieSoftware\PVSOL premium 7.5
    • Right-click on "pvsol premium.ini" and 'Copy' then 'Paste' a temporary copy to the Desktop. Rename it if wished. If all goes well this can be deleted later. If not it be used to recover to old contents.
    • Then right-click again on "pvsol premium.ini" and 'Open With' a simple editor such as Notepad
    • Scroll down and copy (Right-click then 'Copy') everything between and including the terms "Favoritenverwaltung" which appears twice as it is marked in the screenshot below. The number of items found items will vary depending on how many favourites were previously saved.
    • pvsol copying favourites
    • Open the other "pvsol.ini" of PV*SOL premium 2016 or later version. The file can be found under: C:\Users\\Documents\Valentin EnergieSoftware\PVSOL premium 2016
    • Paste everything in the same place, overwriting everything between and including the terms "Favoritenverwaltung" which appears twice
    • Open PV*SOL premium 2016. The favorites should be in the new version
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  • How do I import a load profile such as from a Smart meter?

    This can be carried out using resolutions from per minute to hourly. Using 'Import Load Profile' then 'Import New Load Profile'. Press 'F1' for context help following those instructions exactly! (or go to this Help page: Home > Consumption > Import Load Profile). If the measured data is split into horizontal weekly or monthly rows then this must first be converted to a single column of data. One way to do this is via a free thrid party program caled 'Word ++' using the relevant Find & Replace switches. We cover this in more detail in our training courses.

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  • Why can't I find Tesla and similar products in the battery system database?

    Since the PV*SOL 2016 version, it is possilbe to design for grid-connected AC-coupled battery storage systems and the SMA brand of off-grid DC-coupled battery systems. Some grid-connected battery systems on the market (such as Tesla) use a DC-coupled battery, and so may not be currently listed in the database.

    However, it is possible to add a battery of any brand / model to a custom battery system and then add a battery inverter of your own choice (providing the technical details are known).

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  • Are there load profiles suitable for the Southern hemisphere?

    If a load profile is imported from say a smart meter that was already based in the Southern hemisphere then the seasons and months will already be synchronised. If a profile from the Northern hemisphere is found, such as those that come bundled with the program, then the months must be inverted to match the different seasons. This can be done from the results Excel spreadsheet option where the load profile can be isolated in either hourly or minute resoloution. The data can then be manually inverted so that summer becomes winter etc. then saved as a CSV format. This can then be re-imported back into PV*SOL with a new file name.

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  • Can online sources of 2D terrain profiles be imported into the 2D shading diagram?

    Using the source PVGIS as an example, the data is first exported as a download in .txt format. The two columns of azimuth/bearing and angular altitude are then copied to a spreadsheet. The headers are removed and the numbers formatted without decimals. The bearing format is required so if the data is shown as azimuths then it must be converted by adding/subtracting 180 degrees. From the spreadsheet, copy the two columns to a text editor such as Notepad ++ so they are shown as one column of text with a single space between each pair. Save as a text file with suffix *.hor. This will now directly import into PV*SOL.

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  • How do I select 'From-grid' electrical tariffs that vary during the days or seasons?

    There are so many variants of this appearing every day that you are likely to need to create a custom one to match your customer's local supplier. First view one of the Example Projects > ‘Example TOU’(= Time-of-use). Open this and navigate the ‘Financial analysis tab > ‘Select’. This is opposite the Net Metering section. Then right click > Edit on either ‘Example Rate Net Metering’ or ‘TOU Polyphase’. Viewing these will help you understand how that dialogue works. Now you will more easily save a new tariff for your own country.

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  • How do I view the part load data for a module?

    For part load data, follow this file path: Main menu > Databases > PV Module. Then right-click > Edit

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Definition of Terms

  • Where can I find definitions of common terms used in the PV*SOL report?

    Go to the Help menu > Glossary.

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  • What is the 'energy from grid'?

    The energy from grid consists of the property's electricity requirement which is met by the grid (if connected), plus the PV system's own requirement for inverter stand-by and night use.

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Economic Questions

  • How do I use the UK FiTs in PV*SOL?

    These are available in the Tariffs selection of the Financial Analysis. Both the Export and Generation tariffs are separately applied. Options to use 50% deeming are also available.

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  • I have to load my preferred feed-in tariff each time I set up a new project. Is it possible to save the tariff settings to be used for new projects centrally?

    The best way to use PV*SOL is to create some templates on which to base future projects and in this way many options do not have to be repeatedly entered. There are also frequent choices in the program to save favourite climate, module, inverters and other dialogues 'Save as Default'.

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  • Does PV*SOL know the capital cost or exchange rates of any items?

    In short, no. However in the Financial Analysis, it is possible to use normalised costs/kW, and these can be stored as template projects. The 'Detailed' view on these allows individual items to be summed.

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  • In the results, why does the Feed-in/Export tariff cash flow rate change every year?

    These values are affected by the module degradation, inflation of the tariffs and annual average return on capital (otherwise employed). The latter can be considered the opportunity-loss of interest-bearing capital that would otherwise be gained if the PV project had not proceeded.

    For cashflow tables, degradation and inflation rates are applied on a monthly basis over the entire assessment period. This is applied from the start of the first year. If the start of operation is a part-year then the first year will not match subsequent years. Whereas in the results, 'Total payment from utility in 1st year' is shown as if a complete year.

    This value is affected by module degradation, opportunity-loss of interest-bearing capital and inflation of tariffs.

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  • I am involved with a Power Purchasing Agreement - how is this represented in PV*SOL?

    More complex arrangements are best created in a separate spreadsheet after copy/pasting the cash-flow table in the results.

    However, there is the option within the program to use 'Price of Electricity sold to Third Party' in the Financial Analysis dialogue [currency/kWh]. This is used to calculate the income from the electricity that is not compensated by the power company but is sold directly to third parties at market prices.

    If entered, this rate is multiplied with the grid feed-in (export energy to grid). If a feed-in tariff is selected, then then this is first used for the calculation of the income. Only if the feed-in tariff is not used or has expired then the third party tariff is used. The third party tariff is also used if you have defined that you are not paid for the full amount of the feed-in energy such as when the feed-in tariff contains an un-compensated portion of the electricity.

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  • What effect does the starting date have on the economic calculation?

    The starting date is adjusted in the initial project date tab. The default is the date of first creating the project. If there is a mismatch of this date and any defined tariffs such as Feed-In tariffs then a non-critical advisory message appears at the bottom of the screen and so you may wish to adjust the starting date or adjust the choice of tariffs before completing the project.

    If you chose the 1st of January the first year’s economic calculation will then run from the January 1st to December 31st. For any other staring date in the year the first year’s economic period is from the starting date to the end of the month before the starting month e.g. If the starting date is set to 31 December it goes from December 31st to November 30th. All other years are counted as complete 365 days.

    If the starting date is other than the first of the month, the shortfall of the ‘lost’ days in the first year is calculated from the mean daily feed-in rate (energy export to grid) multiplied by the number of ‘lost’ days multiplied by the chosen feed-in or third party rate.

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