Power Engineering Software for Large-Scale Solar Applications: Page 5 of 5
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EASYPOWER / 503.655.5059 / EASYPOWER.COM
Based near Portland, Oregon, EasyPower has provided power system software solutions since 1984. The EasyPower software suite automates many common code- or AHJ-mandated electrical engineering calculations and reports. Since the platform is Windows based, instead of relying on command prompts, it features a graphical interface that today’s workforce will find intuitive.
EasyPower offers a variety of preconfigured starter electrical design suites. Users can customize and add features to these core packages by downloading additional software modules. The arc-flash hazard analysis tool, for example, is an add-on module for EasyPower’s short-circuit analysis engine. EasyPower also offers harmonic analysis and OCPD coordination modules. Though users can download modules that automate certain design activities, such as conductor or OCPD sizing, these automated calculation capabilities do not eliminate the need for engineering oversight and review. The output reports can focus and expedite these activities.
The reporting functions in EasyPower also include arc-flash hazard label templates. After running ac and dc arc-flash incident energy calculations based on the OCPD ratings and the generator sources, users can generate equipment labels complete with optional QR codes that embed the input data. This feature allows field maintenance teams to perform or adjust the calculations shown on the labels and determine the correct PPE before servicing equipment.
ETAP / 800.477.3827 / ETAP.COM
Based in Irvine, California, and founded in 1986, ETAP produces one of the most popular industrial plant design platforms on the US market. The eponymous software package offers electrical power analysis and operation features for a broad range of applications. In addition to developing tools for utility transmission and distribution operators, ETAP offers modeling tools specifically for PV and other distributed generation applications. The company offers software modules for each of the electrical engineering reports discussed, as well as many others that facility design teams may find useful.
The database for ETAP’s intelligent, interactive one-line diagrams includes most common protective components and generators. While users typically have to enter information manually from PV module and inverter datasheets and test reports, the software saves these data in user-defined libraries for later retrieval. ETAP can run calculations for both the ac and the dc side of a PV project. Whereas the arc-flash hazard capabilities of some power engineering software are limited to 1,000 V, ETAP can analyze arc-flash hazards in ac systems up to 800 kV. Additionally, it calculates interrupt protection on both series and fully protected systems.
The company’s latest release, ETAP 18, includes a mobile app that allows users to collect, verify or edit information in the field. The app allows users to geotag photos, create or edit one-line diagrams, or view ETAP data on a mobile device. etapAPP works on tablets running Microsoft Windows or Apple iOS.
POWER ANALYTICS / 844.367.2572 / POWERANALYTICS.COM
Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and founded 25 years ago, Power Analytics is now on its sixth-generation software release, Paladin DesignBase 6.0. The company targets its software to two audiences: transmission and distribution operators, and industrial generator plant operators that sell energy on a merchant basis to the utility market. Based on its target markets, Power Analytics differentiates its products by placing a heavy emphasis on economic decision-making capabilities. Users can model traditional revenue streams based not only on demand or time-of-use pricing signals but also on nontraditional revenue streams such as blockchain and cryptocurrency sources.
Paladin DesignBase allows users to evaluate all types of generators, from rotating machines with various fossil or renewable fuel sources to inverter-based PV power systems with energy storage. The company is working with San Diego Gas & Electric and the California Energy Commission to develop enhanced power models of the Borrego Springs microgrid project. These enhanced power modeling capabilities are valuable for distributed generation feasibility studies and for evaluating microgrid islanding capabilities. Based on customer need, Power Analytics has developed a consulting arm to provide professional services such as site surveys, energy audits, feasibility studies, project design support and real-time plant operations.
Bill Reaugh / Solar Rae Design / Sacramento, CA