LightTools Solar Design Utilities

As the need for clean renewable energy continues to grow, more attention is being focused on the development of more efficient solar energy collection systems. LightTools includes specialized utilities to help designers model and analyze solar collection systems.

Solar Tracking Utility

This utility allows users to simulate and analyze the performance of a solar collection system. Features of this utility include:

  • The ability to create both direct and diffuse solar source models to be used in analysis. Advanced source modeling includes the ability to simulate the solar aureole caused by the solar beam's interaction with atmospheric particles.
  • The support of insolation data to simulate solar radiation for various geographies, times of year, and times of day. Users can directly input insolation data created using a global meteorological databases provided by METEOTEST's METEONORM software (www.meteonorm.com). User-defined insolation data files, created using other sources such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, are also supported.
  • The creation of a solar cell receiver model.
  • The ability to evaluate the amount of energy that strikes the solar collection system at a particular time of day.
  • The ability to create a solar day scan to simulate the movement of the sun across the sky throughout the day and to calculate both the incident solar power and electrical power of the solar cell defined in your LightTools model.

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Compound Concentrator Utility

This utility allows users to create several types of compound concentrators which are sometimes used in solar collectors, including:

  • Compound parabolic concentrators
  • Compound elliptical concentrators
  • Compound hyberbolic concentrators
  • Involute concentrators

 

This new utility supports numerous variations of these fundamental forms. Users can input specific geometric values to define the concentrator (i.e., input diameter, output diameter, etc.) and can indicate if a cubic spline or a Bezier polynomial should be used to fit a specific number of profile points to define the cross sectional profile of the element. The macro uses these inputs to build the concentrator using a LightTools skinned solid. 

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Download the LightTools Solar Design Datasheet

LightTools features and benefits for solar optics design