Array-O-Matic Solar PV Layout Tool
The Array-O-Matic is a simple tool for residential solar system sizing and creating a preliminary solar layout on a sloped roof.
The Array-O-Matic is a free tool for the 3D modeling program, SketchUp. Please note: As of March 2014, the image import feature in SketchUp 8 and 2013 no longer works. We have confirmed that image import works in SketchUp 2014 and SketchUp 2015.
The following tutorial assumes you have a basic familiarity with SketchUp and know how to use the Select and Move tools. You don’t need to be an expert but if you’re new to SketchUp, we recommend you check out these excellent video tutorials before you proceed.
To begin, right-click (context-click) the Array-o-matic component and select Dynamic Components then Component Options.
Select your module. Select Custom and enter the length and width if your module is not listed.
If you’re modeling in 2D (faster), select your module orientation: portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) and tilt angle (roof pitch).
In 3D mode, the module is kept full size. In 2D mode, the module is shortened to match a top view. If you have a 3D model of your house, set the mode to 3D and disregard the two 2D options.
Switch to the Guides scene tab for easier modeling. This will allow you to see roof geometry and obstructions in the following steps. You can switch back when you’re done.
Select File > Geo-location > Add Location or click the Add Locationicon to import an aerial image of your roof.
Align the axes as follows: Cut the Array-o-matic component, select the Axis Tool, click the 3 points indicated above, and Paste the Array-o-matic.
The Array-o-matic should now be aligned with the building axes like this.
To align the building with your screen, zoom out, right-click the red or green axis line and select Align View. Hint: you must click outside the image area.
Right-click the Guides scene tab and select Update. This will save your axes orientation.
Use the Scale Tool to stretch the Array-o-matic to the size of the roof.
Right-click the array and select Explode.
Use the Move tool to fine-tune the layout.
Click the Module frames scene tab to show the modules and hide the axes.
For best results when printing, resize your SketchUp window so your house is tightly cropped within the window. Download PDF of the output created in this tutorial.