A software-based planning approach for photovoltaic power plant layouts
We present an innovative software-based planning approach for large-scale ground-mounted photovoltaic power plants which helps planners to design better layouts in shorter time. Rather than improving one single layout in a trial-and-error manner, the software generates a variety of layout variants according to the planners' specifications. By comparing both technical and financial characteristics as, e.g. tilt angle, installed power, energy yield, costs, NPV, IRR, LCoE, planners understand the effects of design changes and find the layout which fits their needs best. Due to automation routines, e.g. for cable cross section calculations and CAD export of plant layouts, the engineering effort for bid preparations is 80% lower compared to manual layout planning procedures with CAD and Excel. Benchmarking studies as well as project application showed that up to 10% lower energy generation costs can be attained with this planning approach. Utilizing the full planning potential results in better PV power plants and brings us one step closer to grid parity.