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Designing spolar plant on ground (topography, Zone of table,...)


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I am currently working for a French solar developer specialized in ground power plants and started to learn how to use PVsyst about one month ago.

We will develop a project on a land with slopes, the ground is not flat at all.

The geometer will provide us a .csv or .txt file with GPS data of each point (X, Y, Z) that I will import in PVsyst as a ground. I have done some test and it’s working well.

Because we are working on multi MW projects the number of panels is important and it’s the same for the tables. The fastest way I found to do the project design is to use the Zone of Table tool. When using ground data, will the Zone of Table tool will decrease or increase automatically the pitch to fit the increase or decrease of the limit angle of the sun? (I would like to design for a fixed sun limit angle row to row). I saw a topic named “Topography Modelling” on this forum but it was in 2013. Do you have implemented any solution for this? Or do I have to do it manually by placing sheds rows with variable pitch one by one? (really time consuming and not flexible if I need to modify something).

Generally speaking, for this type of project, what’s the best way to draw it in PVsyst? The drawback of the Zone of Table tool is that we can’t use the Optimization Tool or Batch.

Is there a way to do batch simulation with defined Zone of Tables according to the ground possibilities? Indeed, I have done some batch simulations but I had to create a virtual project with Unlimited Sheds. It does not take into account the shape of the ground (2D in top view). I succeeded to solve this issue by setting a minimum GCR ratio when analyzing the data but anyway it’s no suited exactly to the land. (Setting a minimum GCR ratio is a way to select simulations that should fit onto the land). Also, is there a way to convert the tables positioned using the Zone of Table tool to a Shed so that it’s possible to use the Optimization Tool?

Last question, I often read that when using Unlimited Sheds the edge effects are neglected. What are the edge effects? I didn’t find any help for this.

I hope I was clear enough and will answer if you need more details.

Regards, Loic :idea:

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  • 3 weeks later...

One question: where is the solar farm located? In France? Afaik the national grid (not the electrical one, the mapping one ;) ) is a conic Lambert one, maybe you need to obtain a transformation to the coordinates you were provided by the land surveyor as it could be possible that grid-north is not coincident with true north which Is the reference for solar simulations.

I think a more convenient solution would be to do the design in a CAD software and do the yield simulation in PVsyst as you surely will need some plans to hand over to the local planning officer to get your development permitted.

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Hi Soldnerkugel,

Thanks for your answer, but I don't really see where it helps me :D I will nevertheless try to keep it in mind if I experience any issue with land surveyor data.

Yes the PV plant is located in France.

My questions were more about the way to position the tables with not flat lands using PVsyst. (To do it automatically and not manually).

From what I know what is actually done is drawing the tables' positions with altitude using Helios3D and then importing this file into PVsyst. But Helios3D is very expensive, if used only to do this. So you are right, it's better to do the design in a CAD software and then do the yield estimation using PVsyst.



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If you have already imported a terrain (from a CSV file), you can indeed use the "Zones" for positioning the tables on this terrain.

However this works only with a specified pitch.

I don't know any software adjusting the pitch table-by-table in order to get a constant limit angle. This seems indeed very difficult to do that on a "random" terrain, as the rows may become completely erratic.

I don't know if Helios3D performs this operation, but i don't thinks so. All the helios3D drawings I have seen have perfectly aligned tables.

NB: The batch mode allows to vary some specific parameters, not to do everything you could imagine. Each modifiable parameter has to be specifically programmed.

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Dear Mr Mermoud, thank you for your answer.

What you said is true and I just realize that finally my point of view of drawing with a constant limit angle is not suited.

What we could imagine is to design a plant on which each shed/row of tables have the same average shading losses, keeping a straight alinement of tables inside the same shed.

Well, from now I will just try to manually do my best to put enough space between rows.

One last question that was on the first post of this topic : Also, is there a way to convert the tables positioned using the Zone of Table tool to a Shed so that it’s possible to use the Optimization Tool?

Best regards,


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