Planning, Rural Planning, Solar, TrueViewVisuals

Visual Impact of Solar Farms

The visual impact of a Solar Farm is a key consideration in getting a development through the planning system. The Department for Energy and Climate Change specifically mention visual impact in their Planning and Practice Guidance for Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

the visual impact of a  well-planned and well-screened solar farm can be properly addressed within the landscape if planned sensitively

Has Anyone used TrueViewVisuals in a Solar Planning Application?

One of our clients has submitted several of their solar projects into the planning process for approval.

We wrote about this previously on our blog and did a case study with them.

The solar domain has allowed us to produce visualisations from a single platform, instead of combining a number of graphics packages, significantly reducing the time taken to get the end product. The quality of the model has improved significantly following our input and fast follow-up from the TVV team”
Rob Collin, Green Cat Renewables

How Big is a Solar Panel Bank?

What is actually visualised is an array of panels arranged on an engineered structure, called a panel bank or frame. The alignment and arrangement of these are worked out by the developer when they are designing the site. In TVV we have a standard model containing 6 individual panels long by 4 high. This gives a total of 24 solar panels in a bank or frame.

PanelBank Dimensions

Hence, in TVV our base model shows 24 solar panels in the landscape, a farm is made up of many unit models.  Our solar panel has the following dimensions : 9m wide, 4m deep, 0.6m to 2.8m high, 25degree slope facing south

How Big can a Solar Farm Be?

There are no practical limitations in TVV, as big as you want to create! Any size of solar farm can be viewed in TVV on the iPad. We have successfully modelled solar farms of 3,000 individual panel banks and can create the Fly Through, My View and Gallery views for visual impact assessment, planning and community consultation.

Is there any Guidance around Visualising Solar farms?

Several different public and national bodies have published some guidance on solar planning applications. These are listed below. We welcome guidance being published and envision that as solar panels become more widespread then best practices will emerge for how visulaisations should be produced (as has already happened for wind farm development).

British Renewable Energy – Planning guidance for ground mounted Solar PV
DECC – Planning and Practice Guidance for Renewables
SNH Guidance – Visual Representation of wind farms

TVV is already compliant the SNH 2.1 guidelines for visualising windfarms, so it already follows a process and repeatable photomontages and wirelines to produced.

How are Live Videomontages Created?

One of the key features of TVV is that it can augment the camera feed. This provides a more realistic, engaging experience of understanding what a solar farm looks like.

In TVV’s My View mode, we show a real time Augmented Reality view of what the view would look like with the new solar farm. This is made of a few components

  • A camera feed is shown the background
  • On top of this the visible terrain is shown. The relevant area is taken from our national terrain database using the iPad GPS (for location) and sensors (for look direction)
  • Finally the solar models shown in that field of view

This provides a live videomontage which is excellent at engaging communities and stake holders alike.

How Can I Find out More?

If you are planning a solar farm, we can help communicate and understand the visual impact faster, better and more efficiently.

Get in touch to find out more – email: or phone: 0141 374 2741