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[Tutorial] Design A Fast Pv System With Pv*sol Premium Using Google Earth Data (Map Import)




Free trial versions:



Software-Tutorial PV*SOL premium (from Version 2016)

 - Measuring building dimensions with Google Earth Pro

 - Importing own map sections (tiles?)

 - Extruding 3D objects


This tutorial shows how quickly and easily you can create simple standard buildings and configure a photovoltaic system in PV*SOL premium 2016 without a costly local meeting. In this release, many time-consuming steps have been simplified, considerably accelerating the design process. This is achieved mainly through the new features "Map Import" and "Extrusion Of 3D Objects"

Missing dimensions can be measured with Google Earth Pro. High-resolution screenshot of the roof can be made with it too.

First, start Google Earth Pro.

The installation file and the license key of the software, go to: http://www.google.com/earth/download/gep/agree.html

Enter the approximate address of the future location of the PV system and click the button "Search". The software automatically zooms into the vicinity of the site.

We are interested in this object.

You can move the 3D model with the left mouse button and you can zoom in or out of the map section using the scroll wheel.

Alternatively you can use these buttons.

Now move the target object to the center of the editor so that you can measure it properly.

Click on the button with the ruler icon to open the dialog "Ruler".

Now click on the tab "3D path". With this function you can create three-dimensional distance lines to the outer surfaces of the "Auto-Generated Meshes".

First, we want to determine the object's height and we focus on a visible line of the complex.

Click with the left mouse button on the bottom edge of the object and then on the top edge.

The length of the resulting path can be read here. Write down this length. You will need it later.

Now bring yourself in a good position to measure out one length of the roof, and make a note of this as well. You will need it later for determining the scale in PV*SOL premium.

If there are superstructures on the complex, these can also be measured.

Finally, we also need a high resolution screen shot of the complex from the exact bird's eye view.

Click on the "N" icon on the navigation menu. For PV*SOL the map section should be facing north.

After that, make the screenshot and save it as a file in one of the following formats: *.jpg, *.png or *.bmp.

Now start PV*SOL premium 2016 or a later version.You are now on the "Welcome Page" of the application.

Please begin a new project and enter your climate data location.

Now click on the button "3D Design" and then on the overview screen to get into the "3D Visualization".

In the dialog "New 3D System" click on the button "Coverable Object" and select the menu item "Map Section" in the drop down menu.

Now you see an expanded view of the dialog. Click on the button with the label "Load From Hard Drive".

Load the custom built screenshot from the folder where you have saved it.

Now click on the button with the gear icon.

It opens the dialog "Determine Scale". Here we have to reproduce the path that we measured in Google Earth. Therefore we re-trace the path between the right and left edges of the building again.

Enter the dimension we noted down before in this field.

In our example, this results in a scale of 8,42 pixels per meter.

The map section is now fully defined. Click on “Start” to begin the project.

The software zooms immediately into the "Object View" on the map, and you can begin to sketch the floor plans.

At first we sketch a polygon for the target building. Click on this button to begin the process.

The polygon can be drawn by clicking on the map section. Please draw accurately.

As it may take a while, we will accelerate it.

You can interrupt tracing and draw a further polygon with the Enter Key. With the Right Mouse Button or the Escape Key you can terminate the sketching.

The plan can then be extruded. Click on the polygon and select the context menu item "Extrude 3D Object".

It opens the dialog "Recognize 3D Object".

All dimensions as well as the orientation are already taken from this building.

And the map section, where the building stands, has already been transferred as texture to the roof surfaces of the flat roof.

Enter the measured height in the field "Height". Then click OK.

As you can see, we have created a really complex flat roof building

PV*SOL offers an automatic method of assigning the modules, which guarantees the optimal utilization of the roof space. So in the next step certain areas of the roof must be blocked.

For this, our building must be added to the coverable objects. Then click "Activate".

Since the map section was transferred to the roof, other roof structures are now visible, which can also be traced.

The end result looks like this.

Since mounted PV modules are to be placed on the roof surface, you first have to create and dimension a mounting system.

Open the dialog "Edit Assembly System". Here you can specify the "Module Mount", the "Orientation" and "Placing" of the system.

We want to place the PV modules horizontally... and two vertical modules.

It opens the dialog "Calculate Relative Orientation". Here we enter the desired "Resulting Module Inclination" of 12° and the "Resulting Module Orientation" of 180° (southern exposure).

We leave the other default settings unchanged and only want to optimize the orientation. To do this, hit the "Calculate" button.

The dialog "Calculate Relative Orientation" then opens. Here we enter the desired "Resulting Module Inclination" of 12° and the “Resulting Module Orientation” of 180° (southern exposure).

The program determines the system angles relative to the roof. The system will be mounted later using this information.

The mounting system is now adequately dimensioned for our purposes. Click "OK" to create it.

Then click this button to perform an optimum coverage of the roof with the module rows.

Now you can do a shade frequency calculation to see which PV modules are heavily shaded.


End of tutorial


Thanks for watching!


The computer program featured is PV*SOL premium, a design software from Valentin Software in the fields of photovoltaics and renewable energy. The software focuses on design support and yield calculation. The integrated 3D visualization determines the impact of shading on the yield. PV*SOL premium also calculates the cost-effectiveness of photovoltaic systems with and without self-consumption.


Description tags:


Type of video: Tutorial, Lesson, Exercise, Practice, Presentation, Demonstration


Type of featured software:


Google Earth Pro: Geodata Software, Virtual GlobeMap and geographical information program,

Relevant Features for PVSOL: 3D Maps, Capability to show 3D buildings and structures, Satellite Images, Address Finder,


PV-SOL premium:

Photovoltaic Application, Solar Calculator, 3D-Visualization, CAD-Tool, 3D-Sketchup-Tool, Shading Generator, Time-Step Simulation Program, Planning Software, Calculation Program, Spreadsheet Program, Economy Software



(Virtual) Photovoltaic System, PV Module, Solar Module, Solar Panel, Solar Cells, PV Array, Free Standing, Rack Mounted Arrays, Inverter, Inverter Configuration, PV Array Configuration, Grid-connected System, Stand-alone PV Systems, Planning, Sizing, Commissioning, System Concept, Inverter Concept, Electricity Consumption, Yield Calculation, Storage, MPP Tracking, 3D-Visualization, Shading Analysis, Shading Animation, Profit Calculation, Profitability Assessment


Business Field:

Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy, New Energies, Environmental Engineering, Climate ChangeClimate Protection, Decentralized Energy Supply, Solar Energies, Photovoltaics, Power Grid, Market Incentive Program, Solar Market,



PV Planer, Plant Engineers, Craftsmen, Experts, Specialists, Plumbers, Consultants, Installation Firms, Commercial Customers, Manufacturers, System Developers, Universities, Students, Trainees

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