Overview

Continental Mapping is supporting renewable energy developers on multiple utility-scale solar projects in Texas with high accuracy mapping for site characterization, planning, engineering, and system design totaling a generation capacity up to 900-megawatts of renewable energy.

The increase of renewable energy generation is evident throughout the United States. Towering wind-driven turbines dot the country’s landscape in both expansive and localized installations. Solar farms are methodically constructed for maximum efficiency, with long rows of panels spanning large acreages across the nation. Power generation and transmission are critical infrastructure that require detailed planning and exacting engineering, which is exceedingly true for renewable energy. The footprints of solar and wind renewable energy generation sites are more expansive than other types.

Texas outline with 3 map points in South Eastern part of state. Title of: Solar Farm Project Sites

Project

Aerial Mapping for Solar Farms in Texas

Client

Protected Utility Client

Lidar point cloud visualizing Texas landscape with powerlines, trees, vegetation, and a road.

The 3D lidar point cloud captures the topography and environmental context of the solar farm sites.

Texas is a prime location for solar farm development, with large expanses of rural and arable land, favorable weather for solar power generation and sprawling urban and industrial areas with large energy demands. Another contributing factor across the nation is an increase in interest in renewable, domestically produced energy. Renewable energy developers and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firms have partnered with Continental Mapping on recent utility-scale solar projects in Texas for geospatial data insight to improve site assessment and enhance system design, while also to de-risk and accelerate construction. Across multiple sites these renewable energy installations spanned more than 7000 acres. At full generation capacity these sites would produce a significant amount of energy, up to 900 megawatts. Continental Mapping has considerable experience supporting the power generation and transmission markets and brings a myriad of geospatial solutions to bear.

The large footprint of solar generation sites still requires precise data to support engineering and design. To accomplish data collection across such large areas, Continental Mapping deployed fixed wing aircraft with high accuracy lidar and imagery sensors. Additional ground-based survey crews captured data and control points to ensure accuracy and quality control.

Lidar point cloud visualizing open field, with a parallel road and line of trees.

The infrastructure and arable land are captured in detail in highly accurate 3D lidar point clouds.

Quote: Continental Mapping turned around raw data from the field to actionable geo-data insight in 20 days.

Continental Mapping utilizes the best fit mapping technology – from sensors to tools to processing and distribution software – to ensure client requirements are met. Combined with experienced project managers, field staff, and analysts, the resulting mapping products inform the site characterization both in geospatial context and feasibility of design, and serve to improve client outcomes in a number of ways.

Traditional survey methods covering such large areas require weeks of costly survey crew field time. Using aircraft mounted sensors, the data collection effort was measured in hours. Considerate of project timelines and to avoid cost overruns, Continental Mapping turned around raw data from the field to actionable geo-data insight in 20 days. The aerial lidar data was classified into ground and non-ground points, which provided a source to create highly accurate elevation contours. Designers can import the elevation data, as well as the high-resolution aerial imagery to industry standard software programs.

Aerial orthophoto shot of a bare Texas landscape with a smattering of trees and vegetation.

Pre-construction digital aerial imagery shows in high resolution current site conditions.

The mapping products enabled engineers and project members to understand in detail the variable topography of the site, the environmental context and condition of existing infrastructure, capture measurements, identify potential challenges, and reduce risk with authoritative situational awareness.

Graphic depicted aerial image of a field with 2 pop out rectangles showing a zoomed in aerial shot and the other showing a close up lidar point cloud.

One area shown in wide area imagery, detailed imagery, and 3D lidar.