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The Terrain mesh is used to generate a surface for a topographic survey. It can help to evaluate terrain usability for steeper slopes, spot a survey's errors, and prepare for a generation.

Slope table setup

PVcase allows the user to input the slope angle Start value, slope angle End value, and the number of ranges for the slope. We advise using 7 or more to see the changes in the terrain. After entering these three values and clicking on the Fill table the table on the left will be filled up with a default gradual coloring for each angle range.

Example: The end value of the slope is 15 degrees and is colored in red. The remaining angles from 14 degrees to 55 degrees will also be colored.

It is important to notice that the first and last rows of the table are not editable. This means that the values that are out of range from your minimum or maximum value will also be color-coded. The user can add or remove the terrain mesh coloring table's rows and input values by hitting the DEL key after selecting a row. (example below)

To add additional ranges you need to use the Add row button or the Fill table button and later change the color for that range by clicking on the color rectangle. (example below)

Mesh density

The mesh density slider defines the distances between the triangle centers that the mesh is comprised of:

  • Higher density will result in a more detailed mesh but will increase generation time and require more computing power to store inside AutoCAD.

  • Lower density will result in a less detailed mesh but will reduce the generation time and requires less computing power.

The density value can be changed within the input box or slider handle. We advise for preliminary evaluation using Lower density (5 m or more) mesh because it will decrease the generation time and later if you need more accuracy you can generate Higher density (5 m or less) mesh. Also, the accuracy of the mesh depends on the quality of your topography.

Slope direction

The slope direction can be switched from East-west, North-facing, South-facing or North-south:

Having East-west and North-south point into 2 directions simultaneously. If we choose North-South at the Slope direction, it means the software will identify the north and south slopes at the same time. And at North and South facing options, we can see those slopes separately, for instance, when selecting just North-facing, PVcase will mark regions where there are steep slopes in the northern direction only. This is particularly useful for the tracker's system giving the impact of northern slopes on energy production.

After you define the mesh parameters, simply click Generate terrain mesh and select the desired area in which mesh should be generated. The area has to be a closed contour form.

Once a mesh is generated, values are created in the Distribution column showing which ranges take up most of the mesh.

Zone restrictions

Subsequently the generation of a Terrain mesh you can locate regions where there are severe slopes in one or more directions. And depending on your system you may choose to restrict specific areas which exceed your necessary slope values. The software will automatically avoid placing frames on those restricted areas.

For example, if we have a constraint about placing frames in areas with slopes higher than 6 degrees in a specific direction. What it's possible to do after generating the terrain mesh is to Draw restrictions in the areas where the slopes are higher than the 6 degrees limit.

Exporting to CAD

It's also possible to export the resultant table with the slope distribution to any place in your design area. Click on Export to CAD and then place the table on the workspace. (Example below)

Exporting terrain mesh to PVsyst

The terrain mesh created can be exported to PVSyst by selecting the option Export to PVsyst. On the action window in the drop-down menu, just select Terrain and frames, and PVcase will ask you to select the Terrain mesh. Lastly, select what format you want to save it in. (.DAE or . PVC).

Two files will be generated, the first one with the extension .pvc or .dae, and the second a .csv file:

Having the terrain in the CSV format rather than a 3D object file improves computation speed when running yield reports in PVSyst.

🛈 If you would like to learn how to evaluate and troubleshoot terrain surveys with the terrain mesh tool, click here:

🛈 If you would like to learn how to import your mesh to PVsyst, click here:

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