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Selecting the grading area

Ground grading as slope and collision analysis is a post-table placement feature and can be found in the third tab of the Civil analysis menu:

In the first two windows, we are able to identify slope and terrain collision issues and for a more detailed description of how these functionalities work check the following tutorials:

Ground grading in its turn is dedicated to solving those issues. And we start by selecting the grading area:

By this selection, PVcase is creating a copy of the current terrain data of our design. All the changes will be made to this copy, and it will be placed under the PVcase Proposed Grade layer surface label.

This way you can keep your original information and use it for comparison later. In the GIF below, it's possible to see that new indicative terrain points are being created as we select the PV area:

These terrain points will have an x, y, z coordinate information associated to them:

Note: The Active surface will automatically switch from Existing to Proposed after area selection.

Grading - table slope

The table slope correction is made on the east-west direction for fixed-tilt frames and in the north-south direction for single-axis trackers. The example below shows how to adjust slopes for a fixed-tilt system.

After having identified the tables that have a slope issue we can use the Set slope button to define new limits. All the frames that have a slope higher than the especified limit can be fixed accordingly:

It's important to emphasize that the action of seting a slope is only fixing the table inclination. Therefore, it may occurr that after fixing the slopes the frames are still too far from the terrain or experiencing collision.

To calculate how much earthwork is necessary to attend to the slope requirements, we just need to click on Grade. Here we can choose to grade just the frames that we had initially marked on the slope analysis or the entire PV area:

The whole grading action depends on the pole length. Both functionalities are tied together. PVcase will calculate how much earthwork is necessary to attend the slope requirement considering the first and last pole ranges.

Grading - collision

For the collision analysis, the process is really similar to the slope analysis. And this time we are going to evalutate an example with single-axis tracker. We can start by checking the frames that are outside the pole review limits, and then grading the entire area:

Here we can easily see that PVcase has graded all the orange frames that had poles shorter than the lower limit to 1.5 m:

And for the purple frames that originally had pole lengths higher than the upper limit, all the poles have been fixed to 1.850m:

It is worth emphasizing that when we select the whole area for grading, the algorithm will only pick up problematic frames that are outside of the pre-defined limits. For all the blue tables that were initially in accordance with such limits, PVcase will only recreate the existing surface below the frames, without performing any changes. We can easily check that here:

In the picture above we can see exactly the same frames before and after the grading action. Just the poles that were shorter than 1.5 meters have been graded.

As mentioned on the slope correction, PVcase will calculate how much earthwork is needed through the piling range especification. The results are shown in the table for both the selected area's grade and also for the entire drawing for the case when we have more than one graded area:

And in case we want to try out different scenarios we can easily reset any all the grading actions by right-clicking on the Net result and select the Reset option:

Active Surface Switch

PVcase can now accommodate two different terrain data at the same time. And we can switch between both using the Existing and Proposed buttons:

By switching surfaces, the piling information is also updated, so it becomes easier to make a comparison with the values that we initially had before the grading process. Once again the proposed topography is created when we select the grading area and PVcase creates a copy of the topography information.

Minimizing required grading

Another action that we can take with ground grading is to find the minimum required earthwork for a particular area. For instance lets consider the following area, which has been generated considering a pole length of 1.5 meter as the reference height:

By setting 1.500 m as the lower limit and 1.850 m as the upper one, we can check all the frames that are outside this range:

Let's grade the area considering the same limits for the pole length range:

Here we can check that the total amount of earthwork in cubic meters is 60243.334.

Let's now, elevate the frames in 10 cm using adapt to terrain:

If we reset the previous grading, and repeat the process we get the following result:

The total value has decreased in 32%. Doing a third iteration, using a pole review of 1.700 m we can decrease even more the results:

The difference is now of 62.50% compared to the initial value of 60243.334 cubic meters.

We pretty much can play with different scenarios up until a point we find the best one for our design.


As a final step we can easily compare the the existing and proposed grade surface using the heatmap provided by the Surface comparison tool. This allows us to visualize not just the intensity of the grading but also to identify the regions where it will be located:

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