In contrast to fossil energy sources, the yield from solar power plants and wind parks depends on the present irradiation respectively the wind strength and wind direction. The plants usually operate in nominal conditions only a few hours per year, and the rest of the time with varying operating parameters. Therefore, the variation of the ambient conditions must be considered while predicting the electricity generation for these renewable energy sources. The common method is an hourly resolved simulation with specifically edited weather data.
In order to provide performance calculation algorithms with hourly resolution for concentrating solar power plants, the simulation tool greenius was developed at the Institute of Solar Research. It allows fast and easi predictions of the electricity yield and are especially useful in early phases of projects and for feasibility studies. The main focus of the software is on solar thermal power plants. However, models for detailed simulations of several other renewable energy technologies have been added to the software in the last years. This includes non-concentrating solar collectors for process heat supply, PV plants and wind power parks.
Since 2013, greenius is available free of charge thanks to funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy within the project FreeGreenius. Due to the intuitive graphical user interface, as well as the provided standard components with typical specific values, the software has a relatively flat learning curve. In addition to the technical simulation of the power plants, also an economic section is included in the software. Typical key figures such as capital value or amortisation time are part of each project simulation. The software is continuously expanded with new technologies and features.
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The development and extension of greenius has been funded by several public bodies. Their funding is gratefully acknowledged and they are mentioned in the following paragraphs.
Publishing and further development of greenius was enabled within the project FreeGreenius trough funding by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy based on a decision by the German Bundestag (Funding reference number: 0325427).
The addition of models for solar cooling with concentrating and non-concentrating collectors was funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (Contract no. TREN/FP7EN/218952).
The addition of models for process heat generation with concentrating and non-concentrating collectors was funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety based on a resolution of the German Parliament (Funding reference number: 0329609A).
The extension of greenius for concentrating PV systems was funded by the European Commission under the 6 Framework Programme (Contract no. SES6-CT-2003-502626).
The development and implementation of greenius started in 1999 and funding was provided by the European Commission under the ALTENER II Programme (Contract no. XVII/4.1030/Z/98-268).