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3D-enabled workflow solar construction
January 22, 2021

How 3D-enabled workflow is changing utility-scale solar construction

According to the SEIA Solar Market Insight Report 2020 Q3, utility PV development has reached a new milestone with more than 50 GWdc now in operation. Further, the report notes that at the current growth rate, that number is likely to reach 100 GWdc by 2023 and exceed 250 GWdc by 2030—assuming sufficient investment is available and the construction community can keep up. While investment is for another discussion, utility solar farm construction productivity and efficiency is undergoing an impressive technological transformation.

To facilitate growing demand and meet ever tighter timelines, EPC contractors are adopting proven technology capabilities from other machine control workflows to optimize construction workflows. For instance, 3D machine-guidance and machine-control systems on graders, excavators and dozers are already helping these contractors improve productivity, accuracy and safety.

Now, similar systems are available for utility solar farm construction, specifically onto piling machines, that drive the value of data across the construction continuum.

The 3D Advantage

The nature of utility scale solar farm construction is repetitive —conduct a site survey, develop a plan, install piles, posts and panels, and repeat. However, the process requires consistency and accuracy to ensure the panels can move freely, sit at the right height for optimal visibility and minimize wasted space. Accuracy can also be an issue. Pile rework to correct misalignments can add up to significant cost and time.

Over the last 5 years, leading contractors have begun to test and deploy more automated 3D-enabled pile driving approaches with impressive results.

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