While solar design depends on the skillfulness of engineers and the precision of software, you cannot create a profitable PV design if you choose a poor land. Topo data is the first step in determining the success of your solar project. While the terrain is crucial in this regard, developers should also consider grid connectivity and potential grading costs.

The most critical aspects of topo data

The most important aspect of topo data is the ability to create accurate, high-resolution 3D maps of sites, which enable more accurate layout designs and identification of possible slopes and setbacks. The accuracy of constraint maps is essential to determining a site’s viability.

The slope is one of the main fail factors, so developers must accurately assess slope and undulation at the very start of the project. With more accurate slope data, you can create a better 3D design and make more precise ground grading assumptions and estimate potential costs.

The biggest challenges of getting good topographic data

Most of the public data is relatively easy to find, but it is not geolocated or easy for developers to use, and they need GIS specialists to create maps of these data sets. Such a process could typically take weeks. However, here is where our AO Prospect tool becomes handy. Using it, you can consolidate all of these data sets into one platform that a solar developer can easily use and reduce the time required for the land queries and analyses to minutes instead of weeks. Moreover, beyond the public data, Anderson Optimization by PVcase (AO by PVcase) also offers premium data sets (Capacity, Premium Flood, Distribution Grid, and Premium Grid data) that help filter out non-viable parcels early in the process, saving time and money.

Another issue is the large size of accurate land data sets. The more accurate the data, the larger the data set, and this fact makes it harder for non-software companies with no databases to store it. Storage can get quite expensive, and such data packages are more cumbersome to analyze as you need more advanced data processing to do it efficiently.

AO Prospect provides the infrastructure to store, deliver, and analyze data to give our users the most accurate constraint maps from a 3D topographical lens. This enables our users to make more accurate designs faster and better understand their ground grading risks without going to the site.

In the U.S., AO by PVcase provides capacity data that helps developers ensure they are targeting areas of the grid with capacity and reasonable costs. As a result, designers only design sites that make more sense from an interconnection standpoint.

AO Prospect and PVcase Ground Mount

AO Prospect is now part of the PVcase suite of products. Let’s see how the combination of AO Prospect and PVcase Ground Mount can help your solar endeavors.

Firstly, AO Prospect reduces soft costs across the whole project development cycle, which are often exacerbated due to inefficient workflows and a lack of data for informed decision-making. Here’s how the combination of AO Prospect and Ground Mount can help you to mitigate this issue:

– AO Prospect creates an efficient site selection flow. It provides developers with easy-to-use tools to locate great sites, which you can then give sites to the GIS team
– Ground Mount helps to create a more efficient layout and design flow from initial design to detailed design
– Ground Mount can ingest the high-quality terrain data from AO Prospect
– Ground Mount provides good initial fidelity designs so that development teams know if they have enough land early in the process rather than waiting a long time to learn that they need more land than they thought.


Providing detailed terrain data AO Prospect will allow Ground Mount users to save time by avoiding working on non-viable sites. It can supply PVcase tools with more accurate slope data than their internal data sets. AO Prospect has the best slope data in the industry and can provide the most precise 3D picture as a result. That will enable Ground Mount users to make more accurate and bankable solar projects.

So save time by designing for suitable sites only. Use AO Prospect to help locate great sites close to the grid you’ve already screened for critical hazards and increase your success rate.

Get the AO Prospect demo here!