Mount your Virtuosolar panels with the help of Plex-Earth 5D
In this Tutorial, we are about to present to you the most efficient way to use Plex-Earth 5D and Virtuosolar in order to install photovoltaic power plants.
Virtuosolar is a solar PV design Add-On application for AutoCAD/BricsCAD, that focuses on utility-scale ground-mount and commercial rooftop Solar PV systems.
Our intention with the Virtuosolar collaboration is to help solar park designers make their calculations and analysis with the right terrain model in a few clicks.
The steps in order to successfully combine both of the software are the following:
|TIP: Before starting any of the steps make sure the units of Virtuosolar correspond with Plex-Earth's units!|
So, let's start with Plex-Earth 5D!
Step 1. Georeference your Drawing
To begin with, in order to import terrain with Plex-Earth 5D you will need to firstly georeference your drawing.
To accomplish that, you will need to use Plex-Earth 5D's georeferencing features or if you have already georeferenced your drawing via AutoCAD's Geolocation, Plex-Earth will automatically recognize and adapt the applied georeference settings.
A Step-by-step, tutorial on how to georeference your project can be found, here.
Step 2. Import Terrain
After georeferencing our drawing you can move on to the next step which is Importing Terrain.
This part is considered extremely essential, as you will need our Plex-Earth's Terrain in order to be able to place your Solar Panels on the correct coordinates and successfully export them to the Real-life environment of Google Earth, afterward.
To do so, click on the "Import Terrain" button, located in the "Terrain" panel of Plex-Earth's 5D ribbon tab.
Then, you will be prompted to specify your area of interest. After Importing the Terrain, you will need to generate a drawing object from your terrain by converting it to a Tin Mesh, so that Virtuosolar will recognize Plex-Earth's Terrain.
To achieve that, click on "Show Terrain Manager", located in the "Terrain" panel of Plex-Earth's 5D ribbon tab, click on "Generate Drawing Objects", and choose "Tin Mesh".
You have now created a new layer on your AutoCAD's workspace, ready to be used by Virtuosolar!
Detailed information, regarding the procedure of Importing Terrain, can be easily accessed, by clicking on this link.
Moving on to Virtuosolar!
Step 1. Set Layout Boundary
The first step when switching to Virtuosolar, will be to set your layout boundary. This way Virtuosolar will determine the exact boundary where the solar panels need to be settled as well as, exclude the non-wanted areas, if needed.
The aforementioned features can be found on the "LayoutBoundary" panel of Virtuosolar's ribbon tab.
So, in order to set a boundary, click on either "Create New" in order to create a new Polyline, or directly convert your existing polylines, into a layout boundary, by clicking on "Convert Polyline".
If you would like to exclude any areas, that you will not need solar panels located, click on the "Exclusion zone" of the "LayoutBoundary" panel, and select "Exclusion zone" or "Convert to exclusion".
Additional information on how to Set Layout Boundary, can be found here.
Step 2. Set your solar rack settings
After finishing with setting your boundary, you can move forward to the next segments, which will get you one step closer to your goal, filling your area with racks and modules.
To succeed that, firsthand, you need to choose which solar rack you will use, by clicking on the "Solar Rack Settings", of your "GroundMount" panel of Virtuosolar.
If you would like to create a rack similar to an existing one, just click on "Add a clone of rack", on the "Common" section of the pop-up window of "Solar rack settings".
In case you will need to specify a new rack, click on "Add rack" command, of the pop-up window.
Moreover, on the "Rack" section of "Solar rack settings", you will be able to choose the "Module" of your choice, as well as change the settings of your rack, so that it can correspond to your needs.
More information on how to Set solar rack Settings can be found in this tutorial.
Step 3. Fill your area with racks and modules using Build Ground Layout
Finally, the time has come to bring our solar panels to life!
To achieve this final step, click on "Build Ground Layout" command, of "GroundMount" panel of Virtuosolar.
Following a pop-up window will open again, and you will be prompted to select, your Racks, Boundaries, Positioning, as well as Build parameters.
Virtuosolar will automatically recognize the 3D Terrain Mesh you imported and created with Plex-Earth 5D.
So, lastly, the only thing remaining is clicking on "Build", and your Virtuosolar panels will be perfectly located on top of your imported terrain.
Find more information regarding Build Ground Layout, by clicking here.
Furthermore, if you have any concerns/questions related to Virtuosolar, please contact their Technical Support Team.
Additional Step. Export your 3D solar panels in Google Earth
This extra final step is totally optional, but really important if you need an enhanced overall look at your project, by visualizing it in the real-life environment of Google Earth. The "Export 3D KML" command will help you elevate your presentation, as well as the outcome it will have on your audience.
Now, all solar park designers can have the privilege of installing their photovoltaic power plants in real-life terrain, in just a few clicks, and most importantly from the comfort of their offices, simply by using these two cutting-edge software programs, Plex-Earth 5D and Virtuosolar.
Discover how you can Import Terrain, set up your solar panels, and visualize your project in the 3D environment of Google Earth by installing a fully functional 7-day free trial now!
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions you may have and don’t forget to start your free trial today.