Updates December 2022

Improved earthworks platforms, customizable substation, better DCAC ratio definition, more documentation languages

pvDesign - backend v9.4.17, frontend v4.7.1

To close the year we released four large features which improve the quality of the designs significantly. The improved earthworks and better DCAC ratio definition features address important shortcomings of the algorithms they replace, and will automatically improve all designs. Another great feature is that it is now possible to customize the substation in more detail than before, allowing users to tailor the characteristics of the substation to their needs.

Additionally, we added two new languages for the documentation generated by pvDesign: Japanese and German.

New features

This month we released the following features:

  • Improved earthworks platforms: We made significant improvements to the algorithm which designs the earthworks platforms. Now structures will be grouped to form bigger platforms, resulting in a more realistic design which can be used to calculate the cut and fill volume with better accuracy (compared to real life civil works). Additionally, structures which were rejected due to the topography restrictions may be added to platforms in some conditions (for example, if a rejected structure is surrounded by a platform). This change means that peak power can be slightly increased compared to the previous version. Finally, the layout 3D document is now much smoother than before thanks to improved mesh data structures. The listing of posts and topography analysis documents also include information about the platforms, including the maximum cut depth and fill height of each platform. The topography methodology was updated with information about these improvements.
  • Customizable substation: It is now possible to manually define the number of windings of the substation transformer (either two or three windings), and it can also be sized manually, by capacity or by number of bays. The number of output bays of the substation can also be defined. A warning will appear if the design options chosen by the user are not correct. These changes will be reflected in the interconnection facility documents.
  • Better DCAC ratio definition: We remade one of the stages of the calculation model of pvDesign, the power distribution stage. The new calculation model allows users to manually define the minimum and maximum values for the DCAC ratio of the inverters in the power plant. The main objective of the project was to reduce the variability of the electrical configuration which is automatically defined by the software, so that the inverters and power stations are more consistent with the target DCAC ratio. As an example, in a large and complex PV plant there could be six different types of power stations with a wide range of DCAC ratios. Now the design would have fewer types of power stations, with DCAC ratios closer to the target.
  • Design satisfaction score: You can now review designs generated by pvDesign. To do so, select how many stars you want to give a design in the design results page, with 5 stars being the highest score. This information can be seen by your team members but also by the customer success team, helping them give you better support. If you give a design a very low score, you will be prompted to tell us why, so that we can improve the software with your feedback. Finally, it is possible to filter the designs in a project by their score, for example selecting only designs with 4 or more stars.
  • New documentation languages: It is now possible to download the pvDesign documentation in Japanese and German. To do so, select the languages in the create design dialog. The translation for the overhead line documentation in these languages will be released at a later date, for the time being the documents will be downloaded in English.

Bug fixes and improvements

In December, the following bug fixes and minor improvements were released:

  • The text input of the new project modal is now automatically selected when opening the modal.
  • The pvDesign application will automatically refresh the frontend when there is a new version available. This helps to prevent false positive bugs.
  • When a calculation error occurs due to the DCAC ratio value, a new kind of error message is shown.
  • Improved handling of session expiration. Now the session will be automatically extended if the user is active.
  • Improvements to the filters found in the sidebar of many pages.
  • Improved download documentation button.
  • Improved the equipment page.
  • The battery system MV LV SLD is now available for download in the documents list (it wasn't before due to a bug).
  • Fixed a simulation error which occurred when two structures where almost touching in one point.
  • Fixed a calculation error in the medium voltage system which led to a simulation failure.
  • Fixed an error which occurred when recalculating the new substation inputs without loading a site.
  • Fixed a simulation error in the low voltage system due to a precision issue between the cables and the fence.
  • Improved the calculation of the MV cable going to the substation.
  • Fixed a bug which caused failed simulations not to persist as such, and remain permanently as in progress.
  • Fixed a bug which could cause the IAM profile of a module to result in a gain instead of a loss.
  • Fixed a bug which occurred when reading CSV files with UTF-8 BOM encoding.
  • Fixed a simulation failure which occurred due to a bug in the low voltage cables calculation.
  • Fixed a bug causing some simulations with a BESS to fail.
  • Fixed a bug which caused the strings per structure input to be overwritten unexpectedly.
  • Increased the maximum power limit for string inverters to 700 kW, was 350 kW.