Solar Farm Design

I am available for both freelance work and full time, project-based employment involving the planning of ground mount solar PV installations and commercial and domestic PV rooftops. I have an extensive understanding of the planning strategies related to social and environmental acceptance as well as the advanced CAD skills needed to take projects to shovel-ready status.

The following case study is an example of my CAD work for planning large scale Photovoltaic solar farm sites.

Case Study – Trimmers Solar Farm

Trimmer’s solar farm is a 24MW solar farm scheduled for construction in Hampshire later this year. My involvement included designing the layouts for the panel arrays and ancillary equipment. This brownfield site has extensive power distribution infrastructure above and below ground which the layouts had to take account of and my work included topological requirements, land leasing, grid connection and local social and environmental issues. The bulk of my work ultimately involved the creation of visualizations for presentation to local residents and investors.

During the course of the work I developed techniques for integrating precise topographical data from Google Earth Professional into Sketchup to produce accurate scaled and annotated 3D maps.

Animations were subsequently created by using the specific data to map panel arrays, inverter units ancillary buildings and landmarks to create an accurate model of the site from which animations were generated. The topography of the land is not mapped into the animations.



Evolution of Project Planning

A Sketchup plugin for roof top and ground mounted Photovoltaic site planning, makes it possible to drop all of the key features (panel arrays etc.) onto the topographical photorealistic landscape to create a precise topographically accurate fully 3D version of the site. The panels therefore follow the lay of the land adding accuracy to give a realistic and visually satisfying model.

We can track the position of the sun, and calculate the shadows cast by the panels throughough the year. As you can see from the following images it causes no problems most of the time, however by mid-October shading is beginning to encroach on some rows.

A report of Geo-located Azimuth through the year

A report of Geo-located Azimuth through the year

As required in planning permission, accurate 3D topographical data and images can be generated.

Google Map: Topographical Transform Example

Google Map: Topographical Transform Example

This image shows how topographical data is used to transform a flat Google map image into a landform. Grey areas are referred to as ‘Drop Zones’ into which panels can be inserted and dropped on to the surface as required allowing for more accurate site planning.



Reports can be generated for panel counts and power outputs troughout the year.

Solar Panel Count and Output Report

Solar Panel Count and Output Report

If you are interested in finding out more about this development please see the official website here: Trimmers Solar Farm

Renderings of the Trimmers Solar Farm project