Build with SolaBlock and Kill Two Birds with One Stone.
Build from SolaBlock and let the structure power itself! (Without Actually Killing Birds)
SolaBlock wall systems are easy to design and integrate into almost any building design. Our "solar masonry units" are designed to meet all building code requirements for structural strength, fire-resistance, smoke-resistance, weather-resistance, and vandalism-resistance of conventional masonry—while also creating electric energy for the building.
Simulate your project and rate its peak power. Using the US Department of Energy website, the Project Estimator will allow you to calculate SolaBlock annual energy production for your project.
SolaBlock uses Trimble Sketchup, Google Earth, and Skelion software tools to design, view, and demonstrate wall designs. These tools collectively provide a link to US Department of Energy models for estimating the energy production of designed wall systems. Use of credible third-party assessments of energy production provides designers with greater confidence in the performance estimates for wall systems.
Trimble Sketchup is the premier design tool for geo-coded building design. A large library of buildings that make up the 3D structures in Google Earth is made available to users through this program. SolaBlock maintains a growing collection of product designs and example buildings with Sketchup’s 3D Warehouse. Users familiar with the Sketchup environment can design retrofits and new buildings that are representative of the final result. The free version of Sketchup Make is adequately suited to SolaBlock design.
Google Earth is used in the design process to set the geographic location and orientation of buildings designed, including SolaBlock wall systems. It is also a key tool in identifying where buildings are already modeled in 3D for access in Trimble Sketchup. Google Earth Pro is available for free from Google.
Skelion is a software product that enables designers using Sketchup to mount almost any brand of solar photovoltaic module and estimate the energy production of that installation at the building’s geolocation and orientation to the South. The energy production calculations are made through a connection to the US Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. The data from the Sketchup project is handed off to the NREL PV-Watts modeling site for the estimates that are then viewed within Sketchup. Design changes to a building can be made, viewed, and modeled in minutes. Skelion is available for free and as a Pro version. The free tools are adequate for most simulations.
Users are encouraged to view the Sketchup and Skelion tutorials on YouTube for further details. SolaBlock is working on its own tutorials as well.