PV Generator - Simple

PV Generator Simple component describes a simple model of PV panels that may be useful for early phase design analysis. It provides direct access to the efficiency with which PV panels convert incident solar radiation to electricity and does not require arrays of specific modules to be defined. The full geometric model for solar radiation is used, including shading and reflections to determine the incident solar on the panel. This model is intended to be useful for design purposes to quickly get an idea of the levels for annual production and peak power. The model can also accept arbitrary conversion efficiencies and does not require actual production units be tested to obtain performance coefficients.


This field is the name of the PV array. The name is only used as an identifier.

Fraction of surface area with active solar cells

This field is the user defined fraction for the area of surface named in the parent PV object that will have active PV cells on it. The area actually covered with solar cells will be the net area of the surface (gross area less any sub-surfaces like windows) times the fraction entered here. This fraction includes the difference between PV module area and active cells within it and any losses for how closely packed modules can be arranged on surface. The value should be between 0.0 and 1.0.

Conversion efficiency input mode

This field is used to determine how the thermal efficiency is input. There are two choices


Value for cell efficiency if fixed

This field specifies the efficiency with which solar incident energy is converted to electricity. Efficiency = (electrical power generated [W])/(power of incident solar[W]). These efficiency values are dimensionless and should be between 0.0 and 1.0.

Efficiency schedule

Select the schedule which specifies dimensionless efficiency values between 0.0 and 1.0. This could be used for example to vary the efficiency to match results computed with more detailed models.

Rated electric power

This numeric field contains the nominal electric power output to be requested from the panel. It is normally equal to the rated power output of the generator (in W or Btu/hr). This value is used only for supervisory control and generator dispatch; the actual power output for each time step is determined by the generator models. This value affects how much a generator is loaded (i.e., requested electric power output) and can also impact the operation of an electric storage unit if one is connected to the associated Electric load centre.

Note: The Rated electric power is used for sizing the battery storage and inverters and does not define the maximum power output available from the panel.

For more details on this input and its relationship with electric storage refer to Electrical Storage in the EnergyPlus Engineering Reference.

Availability schedule

Select the generator availability schedule. A schedule value of 0 indicates the generator is not available, while a schedule value > 0 indicates that the generator is available to operate.