In this tutorial, we will show you how to use Plex-Earth and PVcase for creating 3D terrain-based PV layouts.
PVcase, which is a plugin for Autodesk (AutoCAD), is a powerful solar engineering software built for utility-scale power plant designs. Combined with Plex-Earth’s terrain features you can create advanced 3D modeling for photovoltaic projects quickly and easily. This helps you to visualize complex arrangements in the real world, then makes it much easier to communicate your ideas and concepts to the project’s stakeholders.
The following steps below will guide you on this procedure:
Starting in Plex-Earth 5D
Step 1. Georeference your drawing
Before proceeding with any Plex-Earth feature, you will need to georeference your drawing. You can do so, by choosing one of the two available options provided. If your drawing is already georeferenced via AutoCAD’s GEO command, Plex-Earth automatically recognizes this so you can skip this step.
Step 2. Import a Plex-Earth Terrain
Now that your drawing is georeferenced, you are now ready to import a terrain for your area of interest. You can see how to import a terrain in this tutorial.
Step 3. Insert an AutoCAD object for the dynamic terrain
In order to use the terrain imported in PVcase, you will need to insert a CAD object format that is accepted by PVcase and then “explode” the object so PVcase will recognize it.
You can find more information on the type of terrain/topography data that is compatible with PVcase here. We suggest inserting points or contour polylines for easier use.
To insert the object, click on the “Insert” button in the Terrain Editor and select your preferred object.
The object inserted is, by default, inserted as a block, so you will need to burst the block using AutoCAD’s Explode command.
The terrain is now ready to use in PVcase.
Proceeding with PVcase
Step 1. Define the Frame & Park settings and the Layout generation settings
Go to the Add-ins tab of AutoCAD and start PVcase.
Before generating frames onto the terrain, the Frame & Park settings, as well as the Layout generation settings, must be fully defined.
Set up the necessary parameters for the Frame creation, Placement setup, and Park settings by clicking on the Frame & Park settings button.
Access the Layout settings and Topography settings by clicking on the Layout generation setting button.
Define the suitable parameters for each setting.
Under the Topography settings, you will have the option to select the terrain object inserted earlier using Plex-Earth 5D. Click on the Select button then select the terrain object.
With that, PVcase now recognizes the terrain and you are now ready to generate the frames on an area.
You can find several tutorials on PVcase’s support page for a more comprehensive guide on designing your solar plants here.
Step 2. Defining generation boundaries and generating the frames
Once the parameters are all set, you can now generate your frames on selected PV areas.
To proceed, make sure that you have an existing closed polyline that you will select as the generation boundary. Take note that this region or boundary is separate from the actual site boundary and is offset from it. You can also select exclusion zones if needed.
Once the parameters are all set, the generation can be done by selecting one out of two-generation types: Generate single area or Generate multiple areas.
Once the generation is complete, you can go ahead and apply all the preferred parameters and settings for your solar farm project with PVcase.
You can see more information about creating several PV layouts in PVcase’s Help Center.
If you have any questions or concerns related to PVcase, please contact their support team.
Export your project to Google Earth (Recommended)
This final step is totally optional, but we highly recommend it if you want to visualize your project in a real-life environment through Google Earth. The Export KML/KMZ (for 2D and simple 3D projects) and Export 3D KMZ (for 3D projects with textures and materials) features of Plex-Earth 5D will help you elevate your presentation, as well as the outcome it will have on your audience.
You can see more details about this procedure of exporting your projects to Google Earth here.
|TIP! Browse this tutorial for more tips and tricks on optimally exporting solar farm projects to Google Earth.|
With Plex-Earth and PVcase, solar engineers will now have the opportunity to design their photovoltaic projects within a 3D environment with optimum efficiency, equipped with accurate terrain information, analysis, and automated layout disposition in just a few clicks.
We hope that you have found this tutorial on how to create 3D terrain-based PV layouts with Plex-Earth & PVcase helpful. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com for any questions you may still have.
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