algorithmic modeling for Rhino

Hi everyone,

I am trying to simulate a model of dual axis solar tracking shading device (integrated with PV) to calculate the amount of electricity produced from the PV also the shading performance of the tracking shading devices. The idea is illustrated in the attached figure. I have used OpenStudio SketchUp Plugin to model the building and simulate the energy performance of the building using OpenStudio software, but now I need to model and simulate this tracking system, is it possible to perform this in honeybee or OpenStudio? This is not a static system as you know and it should be responding to the Sun's movement during the simulation runtime period.

Thank you in advance

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It is possible to do this in EnergyPlus/OpenStudio and, to do this with Honeybee, you would either need to add additionaStrings_ to the OpenStudio component that add in solar panels to the IDF OR add the panels manually in the OpenStudio Interface.  Alternatively, you could search for an OpenStudio measure that adds PV and apply the measure to the model in the OpenStudio interface.

All of this said, you might be able to get the most control over the input variables by using the Ladybug Renewables components to model the PV separately from the full-building energy model.  If Djordje Spasic is around on the forums (he's the author of the components), he can probably show how to model the tracking system that you have in mind.


Thanks @Mostapha,

I looked at the discussion and it is helpful. 

However, as I explained in the previous reply, I need your help to answer my question and getting the result that I am looking for. Can you please read it and look at the figures?


Thank you, Chris, yes I think Ladybug results are more precise and easier.

I need help from @Djordje if he is available.

I have a multistory building consisting of 23 floors, three orientations (East, South, & West) have two-axis tracking shading devices integrated with PV. Not all the three elevations will receive direct sun radiation at once, also there will be self-shading and building shading affecting the PV panels. How should I model the panels and perform simulations?

The attached figures elaborate the idea. Each facade per a floor has 7 panels (2.15m X 2m) as presented in the second figure.


I see from your images the issue is more complex than we initially realized and you are probably going to have to build a custom workflow for this case. If I were modeling this situation, I would start by making a GH geometry mock-up of a single panel on one of the orientations. I would use a sun vector from the sunpath to simulate the tracking of the panels and hook up sliders to the sunpath inputs so that I could dynamically simulate the movement of the panels. Next, I would run a solar radiation study of the dynamic panel with other dynamic panels around it as context shading. From the difference between that result and the epw directNormalRadiation, I would calculate a shading factor. I would then animate the sliders to build up a list of 8760 shading factors (for each hour of the year). I am pretty sure that Djordje's components can take these shading factors as an input so that you can get values of harvested electricity for each hour. Then you do the same for each of the 4 orientations.

I hope that helps.

What Chris said + you only need to model 6 panels for modeling the whole system. Basically the edge conditions and 2 panels between them which you can multiply to find the total value for the grid.

Thank you Mostapha

In this method, can I still simulate the whole building performance to explore the amount of energy demand reduction due to the shading devices preventing the Sun's harsh rays penetrating into interior spaces?

I think from your suggestion, we could only obtain the amount of electricity produced from the PV, but we neglect the impact of shading elements on reducing the energy consumption of the building due to cooling loads, am I right? 

Thank you for your help


In this method, can I still simulate the whole building performance to explore the amount of energy demand reduction due to the shading devices preventing the Sun's harsh rays penetrating into interior spaces?

You can but there is no built-in methods. You have to calculate the radiation reduction for each hour and apply it to the surface as the boundary using a schedule. Look for topics about complex fenestration modeling with Radiance and EnergyPlus.

Thank you again, Chris

I will start with the modeling and come back to you maybe several times.

Do you mean modeling the building with the panel or only the panel? Because not all the orientations receive direct sun radiation at the same time. The building causes shading on the panels when the Sun is at the other side also self-shading occurs between the panels themselves.

How do you recommend me to start with GH modeling? Whole building with all the integrated panels? Or a lower number of the panels? Or one storey etc.?

Thanks for the help.


I suggest to start with a block of  panels as a prototype and once you get that to work you can scale it and apply to several orientation.

Hi Chris, Is there a GH definition for that? I am not that good in preparing it. Can you please help me? 


That is a generic grasshopper question! If you get started and have specific question I'm sure people can help you to get it done, but you have to start first and come up with very specific questions.

I also suggest to open a new discussion for those questions on the generic forum which there is a better chance to get a modeling specific reply.






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