3. Mechanical Layout
A Mechanical Layout is based on Field Segments that define the areas to be filled with modules, and keepouts which define areas to be excluded and generate shade from surrounding obstructions.
A. Create a Field Segment:
- Choose the imagery you would like to use from the drop-down menu on the top left corner of the Designer or upload your own image from an external source or from a drone as an overlay. Note: Make sure to look for high quality imagery that is as close to top down as possible. Designs with imagery that show the side of a building will give incorrect dimensions, and throw off designs.
- In the Mechanical Tab, click on New to add new Field Segment. Click to add points to define a Field Segment shape.
- Every line segment has a grey circle at its midpoint that can create a new point when dragged. Right-click a point on a Field Segment to delete that point.
- If desired, set the maximum system size for the field segment.
- Choose a module from the drop down menu.
- Select racking type.
- Add a height to the roof.
- Set the azimuth or orientation of the modules (90° is east, 180° is south, and 270° is west). Right-click the edge of a Field Segment to automatically set the module orientation to face that edge of the building, or define the top or bottom edge of the roof for flush mount racking.
- Set the tilt of the modules.
- Define module layout (Row, Module and Frame spacing).
- Define the setbacks.
- Choose the correct alignment for your Design.
B. Create Keepouts:
Keepouts can be used to define areas where modules should not be placed such as obstructions or walkways, and objects at a site that will cast shade that may affect modules.
- Access the Keepout tab in the designer menu.
- Hide array (optional): Toggle by clicking on Showing Array/Hiding array. This button can also be toggled by pressing shift + spacebar
- Draw Keepout shapes on the map for the appropriate setbacks and obstructions.
- Click the arrow pointer to switch to Edit mode to modify or copy the Keepout objects
- While in Keepout mode, you can remove modules from the design by right clicking them
- Define setback distance for buffer around the perimeter of Keepout objects. (optional)
- Define height of the object for shade calculations. (optional)
- Define time range for generating shade patterns. Note: this is only a time range for a single day to view the shade cast by the objects, the shade report will factor in the entire year of shading.
- Check or uncheck the Keepout from shade box to remove or place modules in shaded areas during the time range you have set. (optional)