Are you involved in a solar or battery project and find yourself wondering what it will look like once it's installed?
Stakeholders and the local community often have a strong interest in visualising the project before it becomes a reality, and through the use of highly realistic 3D renderings, mockups, and aerial photo montages, a realistic view your project can be showcased to help spark conversation, generate excitement and align all the parties involved.
Such renderings and visualisations are also extremely valuable when obtaining solar and BESS planning permits and project approval, because local governments and communities want a tangible way to know ahead of time how the solar or battery installation will visually impact the surrounding environment.
In this article, we’re going to explore the importance of project visualisation and why it’s a critical step to successfully delivering solar PV, solar farm and battery projects, as well as how it helps foster engagement with both internal and external stakeholders.
The Importance of Realistic Views
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and 3D renderings of solar PV, solar farm and battery projects are a crucial part of the planning and execution of sustainable energy projects.
Internal stakeholders such as board members and investors appreciate a tangible vision, and realistic views are often a crucial prerequisite for attaining board approval and the authorisation of investment.
Community stakeholders appreciate the visual aids as residents can see how their community will look once the installation is complete - whether it's from public viewports, neighbouring residents or aerial views.
Local governments and councils appreciate seeing how it will visually impact their community and surrounding nature.
Let’s consider a real-world example:
An early stage battery development project needed to be showcased to investors. Enhar created a 3D rendering from an aerial photo using AutoCAD 3D which gives the stakeholders a good sense of how it will look on the bare land and created a tangible reference for discussion.
Suffice to say everyone has an interest in seeing how a large and impactful project like a solar or battery installation will look before getting the green light to invest significant time, monetary and energy investments in realising the project.
3D mockups and visualisation tools facilitate conversation and alignment between project developers, the community and local governments which leads to great trust and successful project implementation.
The Role of Views in Aligning Stakeholders
A visual reference enables all stakeholders to gain a clearer understanding of the project's appearance and layout and provides concrete basis for conversations.
With everyone anchored to the same mockups, meaningful discussions can be had to ensure all stakeholders are aligned on the scope, visual impact and direction of the project and enables any party that may have questions or concerns to raise them during the planning phase, building trust between the project developers and the community.
Moreover, these visuals help generate excitement about the project. Councils and local residents can see how their community is evolving with the times and embracing the wave of renewable energy.
Let’s consider a real-world example:
A large Battery storage project we are working on has a number of solar farms also proposed nearby. Local residents had concerns about the impact of these solar farms on the availability of agricultural land.
By creating 3D visualisations of the BESS footprint, it was shown that that very little agricultural land would be impacted as the size of this farm was modest in comparison to the nearby solar farms.
The 3D renderings were created from an aerial photograph as well as street view photomontages and took 3 weeks to complete including site visits and design iterations with our client to refine the layout before the final render. The outcome was a clear presentation to local landowners when our team undertook community engagement for the project.
A well-executed set of 3D renderings and photo montage can alleviate concerns, answer questions, and build excitement about the project.
Enhar's Process of Visualisation
There are a number of tools that can be employed to generate an array of visualisations of the project from different perspectives; from 3D mockups, to aerial montages to viewpoint specific images.
Without necessarily travelling to the site, Enhar uses CAD technology, high resolution aerial photos and an object library to generate high quality montages. These provide an overall view of the project which engage internal stakeholders and investors as well as external stakeholders.
Should it be required, Enhar can send out a team to take photos and aerial drone footage to provide a rich foundation to generate 3D renderings and viewpoint specific montages. This is typically used to produce views to show how it will look from specific locations and angles within the community.
And as each project is unique, it’s important to understand what the stakeholders are seeking to see and what specific viewpoints renderings should be generated from. It is also possible to render future vegetation which may be planned to soften the views.
The above approach ensures that every aspect of the project, from the landscape to the infrastructure, is accurately represented.
Let’s consider a real-world example:
Following the successful establishment of the Hepburn Community Wind Farm in Victoria, Hepburn Energy planned to develop a solar farm to enhance renewable energy generation in the region. Enhar was engaged to produce photomontages from local viewpoints to demonstrate to the local community and general public what the solar farm would look like which were incorporated into the planning permit application for the project. Our team took high resolution photographs, used a 3D terrain model in CAD and rendering in Photoshop to produce high resolution photomontages playing a part in successful implementation of the project.
Enhar produces 3D renderings, aerial photo montages and mockups to show what the solar farm and battery projects will look like from public viewports, neighbouring residents or from aerial shots from drones.
In an era where solar and battery projects are paramount for sustainable living, visualisation tools like 3D renderings, aerial photo montages, and mockups play a crucial role in bridging the gap between concept and reality, facilitating better planning, community engagement, and ultimately leading to project approval.
Enhar has seen first-hand the impact visualisation tools have in aligning communities and stakeholders and have dedicated significant time and energy into learning what kind of visualsations work best and the tools used to create them.
The team have extensive experience in creating the tools and helping align stakeholders to gain investor, local government and community approval for projects.
Contact us if you’d like some guidance or to discover how we can help bring your solar farm or battery project to life with our comprehensive visualisation services, development approvals, land acquisition and beyond.