Modeling Heat Dissipation in Earth Mount Solar® PV


This paper addresses the unique attributes of an Earth Mount Solar® PV system and its recommended treatment within PVsyst modeling software. PVsyst is a simulation software program that enables the user to model the expected thermal performance of their solar installation in order to accurately estimate production. It is the most widely used such program in the industry today. However, it was developed with elevated fixed-tilt and tracker systems in mind and therefore does not sufficiently consider the ground-based, heat-sink effect that the soil imparts on the thermal performance of Earth Mount Solar™ systems, which are installed directly on the ground.

This paper details a solution to this problem — a concept called Apparent Uc — that enables users of PVsyst to accurately represent this missing geothermic variable and better predict the expected energy production values of an Earth Mount Solar® PV system. This solution was endorsed by DNV, an independent third-party engineering firm that conducted a thorough technological assessment of Earth Mount Solar® PV, including close analysis of real-world data generated at an Earth Mount Solar® PV project site over a period of five months. This analysis led DNV to recommend an Apparent Uc value for PVsyst of 18.5 W/m2K.

Using DNV’s recommended Apparent Uc value of 18.5, PVsyst modeling showed that Earth Mount Solar® PV arrays perform comfortably within accepted industry parameters for heat dissipation and overall energy performance.

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Founded in 2019 and located in Tempe, Arizona, Erthos offers a full suite of products and services aimed at helping developers dramatically reduce the levelized cost of energy or “LCOE” on utility-scale solar power plants. Its executives and management hail from companies including Tesla, Intel, General Electric, SunPower Corporation, First Solar, Depcom Power, Sterling & Wilson, SMA, Solar Frontier, and Plug Power. The team has extensive experience with new product introductions and global markets, including the US, Latin America, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Asia, and the Pacific. Find out more about Erthos at