Today’s utility-scale solar sites often more closely resemble a gerrymandered political district than the big, square open fields of days past. And that’s a good thing. As an industry, our goal should be to find a way to deploy solar into the existing landscape, fitting it into every scrap of available land that is positioned well to supply wholesale utility PV to the grid. We need to fill in corners, go around bends, hug farmers fields, follow the contours of hills, and conform to the boundaries of cloverleaf highways all while circumventing wetlands, waterways and other precious natural resources.
PVCAD Mega was designed to produce layouts that take best advantage of every usable square foot and engineer site layouts that make solar possible on and around organic, natural shapes, and when faced with obstructions and landscapes that would have once been project-limiting.
Just as PVCAD transformed solar design for built environments like rooftops and carports, now PVCAD Mega is revolutionizing solar projects on terrain.
Because it is the first and only CAD software for utility-scale PV built on Autodesk technology, PVCAD Mega’s state-of-the-art tools enable the sophisticated engineering required by complex, multi-million dollar projects that will be relied upon to generate thousands of kWh and endure the elements for 30 years or more. Precision design and project optimization are essential.
But this power and accuracy doesn’t come at the expense of efficiency. In fact, the opposite is true. Where PVCAD uses a module as its unit of measure, PVCAD Mega uses a tracker or fixed-tilt rack. This allows layout design to “zoom out” a level and create multi-MW layouts without any slow downs in processing time. Layouts for projects of any size, on any terrain, can be executed in five minute or less.
Because it is built purposefully for projects on terrain, PVCAD Mega also computes site capacity and post pile height with greater accuracy. For example, PVCAD Mega is the only utility-scale solar design software to offer advanced topography and automated pier analysis, which yields a more accurate and sophisticated layout and a more reliable measure of site feasibility and project economics than traditional slope analysis.
To help ensure project optimization, PVCAD Mega allows you to account for all project components, like equipment pads, access roads and full-length and partial equipment rows. The platform also makes it easy to tweak a layout or change out equipment while retaining the foundational project site information, and to optimize your design by running multiple layout options to quantitatively assess the outcome of different structural component selections.
As with the PVCAD platform, PVCAD Mega features integrated equipment racking and module databases to improve layout accuracy and speed up throughput by auto-populating key inputs. Single-axis tracker equipment selections include all NEXTracker and Array Technologies models.
With greater accuracy, speed and project engineering capability, PVCAD Mega is a powerful new tool in the pursuit of ubiquitous solar deployment worldwide. It enables utility-scale solar projects on a wider-range of sites and gives developers essential tools to improve project economics.
Learn more via our Solar Design University PVCAD Mega video series.