How to use topography data from different sources in pvDesign

In pvDesign, topography data from Google Earth is automatically extracted and applied to our designs. If we want to perform a topography analysis with better accuracy, we can utilize the data from other sources.

This guide explains how to convert topography data to a readable format by pvDesign using the QGIS tool and how to subsequently upload them to pvDesign.

Convert the topography data obtained

First, include the 3D file to our QGIS project. To do so, click on Layer → Add Layer → Add Raster Layer and select the corresponding file.

add raster


Once you have the file opened as a raster layer, you will then add our site to QGIS. You can download the georeferenced CAD file in pvDesign from the "Location" tab (Location - Details - Download CAD), and add it to QGIS by clicking on Project → Import/Export → Import Layers from DWG/DXF. Note that you only need to select the "Available area layer".

QGIS can possibly blur the lines of the site. Therefore, in order to view the site clearly, we highly recommend decreasing the opacity of the Raster to 50% when importing and modifying the type of line that represents the site. To do this, go to the properties of each element.


Option #1: With all the information inside the same Raster layer, click on Raster → Extraction → Clip Raster by Extension, and select the combined layer, this will indicate the area where your site is located.


Once the Raster is clipped, click on Raster → Conversion → Translate (convert format). In this window, do the following:

  1. Select the clipped layer as input;
  2. Choose the corresponding CRS for the "Override the projection for the output file".
  3. Click on the three dots next to "Converted" and define a target file destination for saving, choosing XYZ as the format.
  4. Click "Run".


Once the conversion is finished, the XYZ file is saved in the location you have selected. Now you can directly upload the .xyz file in pvDesign from the tab Location → Topography → Upload topography .CSV.

Based on this 3D data, the topography analysis will have higher resolution data to improve the final design.

Option #2: (steps will follow the video below)

  1. In the processing toolbox, search for "Clip raster by mask layer". Open the tool.
    1. Set the input layer corresponding to the raster layer
    2. Set the mask layer corresponding to the available areas
    3. Click "Run"
  1. In the processing toolbox, search for "Raster pixels to point". Open the tool.
    1. Set the raster layer corresponding to the output of the previous step (Clipped (mask))
    2. Click "Run"
  2. In the processing toolbox, search for "Set Z value". Open the tool.
    1. Select the points layer from the previous step (Vector points)
    2. In the Z value, click the right-hand menu, and select Attribute Field: VALUE
    3. Click "Run"
  3. Export the "Z added" layer as a CSV file.
    1. Right-click on the layer and select "Export > Save feature as"
    2. Deselect all field
    3. Select "XYZ" geometry
    4. Save as a CSV file
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