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Helioscope, a software package that models PV systems, can be used to accurately evaluate the performance of smart module optimising technology made by Tigo Energy, engineering and energy consultancy firm DNV GL has verified.

Tigo Energy claims that using software evaluation tools such as Helioscope to accurately predict the return on investment (ROI) of PV arrays with smart modules can make it easier for developers and installers to communicate the financial benefits of such systems to system owners. Folsom Labs, the makers of Helioscope, launched the software at the beginning of the year and claims that it can cut design times for PV systems by up to 75%.

DNV GL analysed Helioscope and compared it to current bankable standards, evaluating its performance against PVSyst, which is current industry-standard software for modelling PV arrays, with proven bankability.

DNV said: “HelioScope is a novel modeling tool for investigating the energy generating performance of PV systems even when subject to non-ideal solar access. It demonstrates agreement with PVSyst modeling results to within 1%, and appears to combine multiple shading effects to achieve consistent results relative to PVSyst."

For over a year, PsomasFMG, a commercial solar developer in the US, also evaluated the performance of Helioscope in monitoring a PV installation fitted with Tigo Energy optimising technology. According to PsomasFMG’s chief operating officer Gail Sandford, the company was able to predict the output of the Tigo Energy Smart Modules to “within 0.26% of their real-world measured output”. Sandford described Helioscope as a “bankable tool” to use for proposing Tigo Energy Smart Module-fitted projects.

Tigo Energy believes its partners, including Trina Solar’s TrinaSmart range of smart modules, will be able to take advantage of Helioscope to gain a clearer picture of energy yield improvements using TrinaSmart and similar smart module systems.

In related DNV GL news, the consultancy revealed on 13 February that it will no longer provide evaluation and accreditation services to the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects and other international climate change mitigation projects, citing the fall in price of carbon credits on the carbon market and sharp downturn in the number of CDM projects that has resulted as the reason.

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