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PV Building Energy Offsets with Insight 360 Solar Analysis

December 30, 2015

Using Solar Analysis as part of Insight 360, you can track how much of your building energy can be offset with PV solar panel design by entering building energy use information.


The process of transferring building energy use information from Insight 360 is manual for the moment, but it’s not hard to coordinate building energy results with detailed solar analysis design results.

Here’s how it’s done. You’ll want to collect a few pieces of information first (be sure you have the Revit Insight 360 plugin downloaded).

  1. From the Analyze tab in Revit select Create Energy Model from the Energy Analysis panel.
  1. Find the total area at the bottom of the Analytical Spaces scheduleYou may have to convert the values from square feet to square meters using the conversion factor of 1 sqft  = 1/10.76 sqm (we’ll work on automating that soon!).


  1. From the Analyze tab in Revit, select Generate Insight to perform energy, loads, and conceptual PV analysis with Insight 360.

Insight Menu

  1. Select Insight 360 to view your results.
    1. First turn off PV energy in your model by selecting the PV – Surface Coverage factor and selecting 0% coverage.

PV Factor

2.   In the top left of the model viewer window, click on the energy dial to change the units from Cost to EUI.


Once you have the total area and EUI, you can dive into Insight 360 Solar Analysis.

  1. Open the Solar tool from the Insight 360 panel.
  1. Select the Solar Energy – Annual PV Study Type and open the Settings dialog.
  2. For Building Area, enter the value from the Analytical Spaces schedule (step 2).

For Building Energy, enter the EUI from the Insight 360 interface (step 4). You may have to convert from kBTU/sqft/year to kWh/sqm/year using the conversation factor of 1 kBTU/sqft/ = 3.155 kWh/sqm (yes, we’ll work to automate that too).
Settings 2

  1. Optionally you can enter the Electricity Cost and % escalation to get better information on the PV system payback period.  This is not necessary for getting proper results for energy offset, as both PV and Building Energy use the same cost.
  1. Select the surfaces which will have PV panels in the Revit model and select Update in the SAR dialog to see how much building energy can be offset with cleaner PV Solar Energy.


TIP:  If you are doing conceptual design and selecting whole roof surfaces, remember to set a Coverage percentage in the Settings to account for racking, edge offsets, and roof obstructions.

  1. Expand the dialog with the arrow on the bottom left to look at PV Energy and PV Payback Period on the selected surfaces of your Revit model.