Key Exports

Once you have completed a project drawing, PVCAD can automatically generate reports to review project information, present it to others, and create proposals or permit applications. PVCAD reporting includes an Energy Simulation, a Bill of Materials (BOM), an Electrical Summary Report and a Single-line Diagram.


As you create your project and input data, PVCAD stores metadata in these Excel templates and uses the information to build reports. Let’s take a closer look.


PVSyst Export

PVCAD supports exporting to PVSyst 7.4, a software package used for the simulation of PV systems that is widely recognized in the solar energy industry for its comprehensive tools that allow users to predict the energy production of PV systems. PVSyst is under active development and has specific constraints and assumptions related to the way it models PV systems.


Before you start modeling your project, pin your project georeference as closely as possible to the origin point of your AutoCAD drawing (0,0) and confirm your units are matched correctly in your base


Avoid adjusting the row spacing, column spacing, module type or tracker length in the layout after it has been generated by PVCAD. If a new configuration is needed, either create a new version with the version button or clear the layout with the clear button on the PVCAD Ribbon and then make a new layout before exporting to PVSyst. You can download PVSyst here.


PVCAD Energy Simulation

Click on the Energy Simulation button in PVCAD to send all your project information to a PVComplete server. Make sure you have an internet connection when generating the report. The simulation models system performance based on the PVCAD settings that you selected when starting the project, using PVWatts or SAM and weather data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. PVCAD users get Energy Simulation reports back in the form of an Excel file.


Within the report, the Project Parameters tab shows all of the project information that you input, as well as system losses, DC/AC size ratio, capacity factor, and module type. There are two additional tabs that will show all of your energy simulation information on a monthly basis and hourly basis over the year.


Bill of Materials

Click the Export Bill of Materials button to create an Excel file that documents all the system components to be procured, delivered to the project site and integrated during construction. The BOM reports overall quantity count at the system level and a wire-by-wire breakdown. Change polylines and regenerate BOM to adjust conductor lengths. The file has preassigned fields for reporting total material costs, installation times, and labor rates, so you can produce quick project cost estimates and revise them as needed. A BOM is available for mounting systems from the following five suppliers:

  • Ecolibrium Use PVCBALLAST for ballast calculations

  • IronRidge Available for all products. Generates BOM automatically. Provides additional IronRidge bill of materials. Includes rendered rails, splices, and attachments.

  • PanelClaw Use PVCGETPANELCLAW to create a JSON file compatible with the PanelClaw design tool 

  • Polar Racking Generates BOM automatically.

  • Unirac Commercial systems only


Electrical Summary Report and Calculator

Type PVCELECTRICALSUMMARY for a report on the characteristics of any run of wire within your project, including a list of conductors, conductor size, ampacity, wire length, resistance, temperature-corrected resistance, and voltage drop.


Electrical calculations are generally required when submitting a permit application. Once you have generated a single-line diagram, PVCAD automatically downloads electrical calculations using the Excel template for single-line diagrams to a Reports folder in the same location as your drawing file by default. Within the Excel file, the Parameters tab contains defaults used to generate single-lines. If you change the defaults, be sure to save changes. The Calculations tab shows all calculations. Data in the SheetSet tab imports directly to the AutoCAD drawing file.Here are instructions to create a data link between the Excel output and your drawing file:

  1. Run the calculator by selecting the Single-Line Generator in the PVCAD ribbon.

  2. Navigate to Model space and look to the tab at the bottom of the screen.

  3. Select the Insert ribbon in AutoCAD.

  4. Select Data Link and create a new Excel Link by typing a name for the connection.

  5. A window will pop up asking you to select the Excel file. Navigate to your Single-Line Electrical Report and select the file. (For the default location, see the Electrical Calculator section above.)

  6. Specify SheetSet tab to be imported, then click OK. Make sure the entire sheet is imported or enter the cell range that you would like to include.

  7. Click the Annotate ribbon and select Table.

  8. Select From Data Link and choose the named Data Link you created.

  9. Click in the Model space where you would like the electrical calculator to be.

  10. Then return to the Layout tab and delete the instructions from the template. From there, simply click within the MVIEW viewport and ZOOM into the Electrical Calculator you inserted into Model space.


You can also copy and paste from Excel to AutoCAD, but this method does not create a data link. Any changes to the drawing file will not be tied back to the Excel file and automatically updated.


Setup PVCAD single-line tool palette

A tool palette allows you to drag and drop the blocks that you want into Model space. You can connect the blocks and enter in the electrical information for your specific system by following these steps.


1) Open the Tool Palette bar.

2) Create a new tool palette named “PVCAD Single Line”.

3) Navigate to the folder where blocks are stored.


If using the PVCAD plugin,


C:\Program Files\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\PVComplete2015.bundle\Contents\Support\BlockLibrary


If using the PVCAD bundle,

C:\Program Files\PVComplete\PVCAD 2018\BlockLibrary


4) Copy these blocks and literally drag them into your newly created tool palette in AutoCAD. 

5) In the tool palette, you can click blocks one by one to bring them into your drawing.