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Solar Systems Design Software
Controlling the System:

It is important to be able to shut off the solar system with a control to prevheating the pool and to keep water from running through the collectors in bad weather. Pool water running through the collectors in cold or rainy weather can actually cool the pool.

If you have the Automatic Electronic Control System, you simply set the desired temperature on the control panel and the system does the rest. When the solar sensor finds that there is enough solar energy falling on the solar collectors to heat your pool/water and the pool/water is cooler than you desire, it automatically sends water through the solar collectors. Bright sunshine is not needed to heat your pool/water. The solar sensor will turn on your solar heater even on a hazy or cloudy day when it finds the right amount of solar energy.

Manual control systems use a hand operated three-port valve. You can turn the heater on or off with a quarter turn of the valve handle.

Simulates passive solar houses by calculating heat losses and solar gains in residential buildings, using interlinked worksheets and very extensive help. Based on New Method 5000, 'solacalc' uses UK climate data to easily and quickly calculate thermal balances and financial analysis. A reference calculation concurrently offers a design comparison without solar features. A Net Present Value calculation provides economic analysis.

passive solar, house design, building design, building services, design tools

Expertise Required
None, but knowledge of spreadsheets and basic building thermodynamics is helpful.

More than 30.

Architects, Builders, homeowners, technicians in architectural practices, utilities and research establishments.

Building geometry, U values, K values or insulation specifications, heat exchanger flow rates, exterior temperatures, degree days, day lengths, transmitted solar energy, shading factors and internal gains etc. Apart from building geometry, input requirements are available for automatic insertion from internal databases.

22 spreadsheet reports or graph summaries can be printed directly.

Computer Platform
PC-compatible, 386 or higher, running Windows 3.1 or Windows 95.

Programming Language
Borland Delphi.

Easy and automated version of EU standard method for analysing buiding thermal performance on a monthly basis. Allows flexible data entry where unusual designs are to be computed. Internet connection is provided for additional data information.

Currently uses European data. Doesn't provide detailed analysis.

Equinland Limited



Shareware with 30 free uses, registration $39.95 + $4 p&p. Buy online and download from ;


Solar Benefits Model
Model to estimate the economic benefits of installing a solar water-heating system when its cost is financed through a mortgage, either on a new home or when a system is added to a existing home which is being purchased or refinanced. This program is intended primarily for residential applications.

When properly installed and maintained, solar water-heating systems can produce monthly energy savings in many locations. These energy savings result in "positive monthly cash flows," where the savings generated by the system exceed the monthly mortgage payment for the incremental cost of the solar system. The Solar Benefits Model allows you to vary various financing, energy production, and cost variables specific to your situation to determine the approximate cash flow you can expect to achieve from solar water heating.

solar hot water, residential mortgage, cash flow analysis

More than 100.

Builders, architects, designers, realtors, solar industry, potential home buyers.

Users input data specific to the type of water heating system the solar system is being paired with, including whether the fuel source is electricity or natural gas, energy cost, general inflation rate, energy cost escalation rate, the cost of the solar system, maintenance costs, percentage of energy supplied by solar, any financial incentives available, down payment, interest rate, amount and term of the mortgage, income tax rate, and the number of people in the household. Default values for all of these fields exist in the software. Data is entered in numeric format in individual data entry windows.

Information regarding monthly savings and rates of return are presented in numerical output, graphs are presented for annual and cumulative net cash flows.

Computer Platform
PC/Mac with Office 97 or later.

Programming Language
Visual Basic

Provides a means of evaluating the cost of ownership of a solar water heating system which accurately portrays the actual cash flow a residential user will experience, which is superior to other financial measures such as investment payback.

The program is based on an Excel spreadsheet with a front-end visual basic presentation which makes it ideal for sales presentations and other non-technical uses. The underlying spreadsheet, which can be used independently, can be used by to provide a more in-depth analysis capability for mortgage cash flow analysis.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Design tool for architects familiar with passive solar energy. It includes a thermal performance calculator, a design element checklist, and excel spreadsheets database with useful Solar Architecture parameters (e.g. thermal properties). Version 1.0 is in English and includes some sample data for the UK and Ireland. Screen Shots

thermal performance calculation, solar architecture, residential buildings, design checklists


Expertise Required
Familiarity with solar architecture.

Several hundred around the world, primarily in Europe (UK/Ireland).

Users familiar with solar architecture, e.g. architects / civil engineers, construction industry / building designers, government agencies, technical press and media, public utilities / energy supply industry, professional and trade associations, consultants, university faculty and students.

Thermal performance calculation basic data input - numerical, text, and graphical.

Building thermal performance parameters, graphics, excel spreadsheets:
Daylighting and passive solar design technologies from manufacturer/supplier database; ecological assessment of building materials; embodied energy / energy requirement for manufacturing and/or processing; daylighting checklist; recommended illuminances; address list from manufacturer/supplier database; thermal properties: surface and airspace resistance, materials (conductivity, etc.), radiative properties of materials, typical floor construction U-values, typical roof construction U-values, and typical wall construction U-values; and ventilation technologies from manufacturer/supplier database.

Computer Platform
PC (Windows)

Simple thermal performance calculation, thermal parameter database, manufacturer information.

Some data specific to UK/Ireland.




Software for the planning, analysis and simulation of thermal solar heating systems. A professional tool for planners, engineers and energy specialists, T*SOL can also be used for education purposes by universities and research institutes.

A large number of solar water heating systems, including space heating, can be tested under varying parameters, with the results (temperature, energies, efficiencies and solar fraction) easily saved to file and presented in graph or chart form.

Two extra modules are available in addition to the main programme: the Swimming Pool module and the SysCat module for large-scale systems. Screen Shots

solar thermal heating, swimming pool heating, solar planning and design


Expertise Required
No special expertise or training needed.

Over 1,000 users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Now available internationally with the English version 4.0.

Professionals - solar specialists, planners, engineers, heating technicians and plumbers, energy consultants. Educators - universities and research institutes.

Collector area, regulating temperatures, costs, consumption, storage tank size, and heat exchanger.

Preformatted reports in graph and chart form. User definable reports also possible. Economic efficiency calculation.

Computer Platform
Windows 95, 98, NT or 2000, 166 MHz Pentium PC, 32 MB RAM, 50 MB hard disk space, CD and floppy disk drives.

Programming Language
Borland Pascal

Precise calculations possible, very user-friendly, no training required.

Dr. Valentin EnergieSoftware GmbH


F-Chart **Active and Passive Solar Systems Analysis

F-CHART is the authoritative solar system analysis and design program written by S.A. Klein and W.A. Beckman, the originators of the F-Chart method.

Download a demonstration version for Windows.
View Example Input and Output from F-Chart.

Collector Types

Evacuated Types
1 and 2-Axis Tracking
System Types
Water Storage Heating
Pebble Bed Storage Heating
Building Storage Heating
Domestic Water Heating
Integral Collector-Storage DHW
Indoor and Outdoor Pool Heating
Passive Direct-Gain
Passive Collector-Storage Wall


Life-cycle economics with cash flow
Weather data for over 300 locations
Weather data can be added
Monthly parameter variation
2-D incidence angle modifiers
English and SI units
Approved for use in California
Versions for Mac, DOS, and Windows


Web www.iklim.com
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