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How does the pvDesign topography tool work

This article explains how to set installation limit, discard structures and perform earthworks

In pvDesign, once you are creating a design, you can find a tab that reads “Topography”. Here, users can set their installation limits: maximum slope limit in the North-South direction, maximum slope limit in the East-West direction, maximum linked-row slope limit, and terrain undulation.

All criteria (except for the linked-row criterion) have two options, an installation or tolerance limit, and an earthworks (cut & fill) mode.

Let’s start with the linked-row structure first. This limit is only available when a linked-row tracker is selected.

After enabling this option, you can set the maximum slope limit. Let’s assume that the set slope limit is 5% as shown in the image above. pvDesign will remove any linked-row tracker which has a slope of 5% or above between its rows. Even if a linked-row tracker consists of 12 rows and the slope between only 2 of these rows is above the set limit, the whole linked-row tracker will be discarded from the final design.

The North-South and East-West maximum slope limits work in a very similar fashion. They check the slope value underneath the structure (whether it’s a tracker or a fixed structure) in their respective direction. So, if we take for instance the example shown in the image below, any structure that is installed above a North-South slope of 15% or above will be removed from the final design.

Now, what happens if we have both options of the same criterion enabled as shown in the image below?

In this specific case, pvDesign will apply earthworks to the terrain found underneath a structure as long as its North-South slope is between 15 and 25%. In other words, it will apply all the necessary cut and fill to decrease this slope down to 15%. If the North-South slope is initially above 25%, however, the structure will be removed from the final design.

The final criterion is the terrain undulation criterion. This parameter allows users to set a maximum limit of pile length difference between the shortest and the longest pile of the same structure.

In the example shown in the image above, pvDesign will apply all the necessary earthworks for structures that have a difference of 100 to 200 cm in length between their shortest and longest pile. The goal is to decrease this difference down to 100 cm. If this difference is initially above 200 cm, the structure will be removed from the final design.

Based on these results, pvDesign will calculate the total necessary cut and fill volume and include these values in the Design Report and the BOQ. It will also generate Listing of Posts and Terrain XYZ spreadsheets, a Topography Analysis DXF, and a Structure Profiles zip file that includes various CAD files.

For any other questions or more information regarding this topic, you can contact us at: support@ratedpower.com