Designing for Solar

Solar & Efficiency Special
A version of this article appears in the Solar & Efficiency Special issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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March 20, 2007
Deciding where to put a PV system on a roof can be a struggle, especially if the best place for the system is unavailable for some reason. That’s when an architect or designer may need to consider integrating the PV system with the roof or with a porch overhang—and that’s where BIPV Designer software can help. BIPV Designer lets users quickly see how much energy can be produced by putting building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) on various building surfaces. By moving around in the graphical user interface, from simple to detailed, inexperienced users can learn the effects of placing BIPV in different areas. Seasoned professionals will also find the tool valuable.  This simple yet powerful program is available for either Windows or Macintosh platforms and can be downloaded for free on the Internet. (Unfortunately, feedback indicates that it does not run on the most recent Mac OS.) Designing Details In 1996, Energy Ideas, my company, developed the first version of BIPV Designer on a floppy disk. We were then contracted by Solar Design Associates to expand this program to include more functions. Christopher Gronbeck of Sustainable by Design was instrumental in developing the new graphical ...

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