Updated Solar Analysis Installer for Revit Available for Download  

Visualize, quantify the distribution of solar radiation. 

The last thing you want to do as an architect is negatively affect the natural beauty of the area around your planned structure. Plant life and people both have an affinity for the sun, but for plants especially, the sun is an important source of energy. People who love plants and the sun generally aren’t thrilled to discover that new structures may have a permanent and deleterious effect on surrounding plant life by blocking out the sunlight and disturbing the pleasant atmosphere of their daily lives.  


Addressing this issue, Autodesk recently announced the launch of a free Solar Analysis tool for Revit. The ability to perform solar analysis on buildings or any other mass seems like a great idea. The Solar Analysis preview allows you to see and quantify the distribution of solar radiation by incorporating an analysis of shading effects from analogous objects and nearby vegetation. Basically, you can do two important things: incorporate shading device design, which is an effective strategy in obstructing undesired solar radiation, and add aperture placement to allow desired solar radiation.  

Solar Analysis uses the Perez sky model and insolation calculation, validated to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)-provided test values. The Perez sky model has a slightly more general form than the Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage or International Commission on Illumination (CIE) model and therefore can capture more features of simulated data, which is why it is preferable.  

There are two options for calculation:  

  • Perez Surface Analysis: This is the long-hand method that does the NREL-documented Perez calculation once per hour. According to Autodesk, this is best only for single-hour analyses.  

  • Perez Cumulative Sky: This new “distributed sky model” version was developed at Autodesk. It uses the same root formulas, but pre-calculates exposures for the whole year from a segmented sky model. This method is much faster and is accurate to within approximately one percent of the long-hand method.  

According to a recent blog post by Scott Shepard, “Autodesk Labs technology previews are about the technology. It’s early in the development cycle, so we’re interested in knowing if an idea is viable or not. It’s so much better for us to have 3 developers spend a month and get validation before 30 developers spend a year on a technology. Customers help shape the future of our technology. In turn, we don’t waste time and money working on technologies customers are just going to hate anyway. It’s a win-win.”  


If you’ve experienced an installer issue, this updated version fixes that particular issue.  

You can join the technology preview in Autodesk Labs