Module & Layout design

Layout, module, pitch, inner spacing, shade limit, height

Vito Bindokas avatar
Written by Vito Bindokas
Updated over a week ago

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Once the roof is prepared, the next step is to generate the layout. In this article, we will cover the main steps of roof layout creation with PVcase which consists of Module settings, Layout settings, and alignment line.

Module settings

The first essential step before module generation is to define the module dimensions and power. This can be done by clicking on the Module settings button where you will be able to configure parameters such as:

  • Name the module preset:

  • Create a new preset:

  • Duplicate a preset:

  • Delete a preset:

  • The Module settings section allows you to define custom module parameters to match those that are provided by your module manufacturer of choice.

In this example, we will create a couple of presets with different parameters. The first step is to give a preset name; In our case it will be module_400. The next step is to change the Module settings to a length of 1.722 meters, width of 1.134 meters, thickness of 0.03, and power to 400 Wp.

To create a second preset, you can use the Duplicate function. If you click on the Duplicate function, it will make a copy of the existing preset. After the preset was copied, you need to change the name to something else, in this case - module_420 and change the power to 420 Wp. If you click on the drop-down menu, you can see two presets.

Layout settings

Once the module presets have been created, we can move to Layout settings where you can define layout parameters on how you would like to generate the layout. To start, select the preset that you want to use. This can be done by clicking on the drop-down menu and clicking on the preset.

The next step is to select the Layout type according to the roof. For that, we have 4 different options:

  • Flat south - this system type is orientated to the South. That means that all the modules will be tilted toward the South.

  • Flat east-west - this system type is orientated towards East-West. It consists of two modules, one facing East and another facing West.

  • Reverse east-west - this system is similar to East-West, the only difference is that the modules are tilted inwards, which mean they are facing each other.

  • Flush mount - this system type is usually used for roofs with big slopes. The modules are placed without any tilt angle. Generated modules automatically match the slope of the roof.

Depending on the layout type that you choose the Layout setting will be different. If you choose Flat south, Flat east-west, or Reverse east-west you can change:

  • Module orientation - it can be portrait or landscape;

  • Tilt angle - it can be up to 89.90 degrees;

The next step is to define how would you like your modules to be placed. For that, PVcase offers two options:

  • Align modules by parapet - the modules will be automatically aligned by selected parapet and azimuth will be set up automatically. In order to execute the command whenever clicking Place modules you will be asked to select PV area then press space or enter and to finalize, select the parapet by which you want to align the layout.

  • Align rows - it can be used to generate frames in a more orderly fashion, especially in less space-constrained areas. To execute the function enable the align rows check box before placing the modules

    • Please note that both functions can be used at the same time.

For the Flat south system you can change the Layout to a north-facing if you are working in the Southern Hemisphere; To do so enable this by ticking the checkbox.

And if needed, you can change the Azimuth; It can be up to 89,9 degrees or use the option align modules by parapet and the azimuth will be set up automatically.

For Flat east-west and Reverse east-west system type, you can change the Azimuth up to 179,9 degrees.

As a last modification option, you can change the gap between the modules by adjusting the distance between the east and west modules.

If you choose Flush mount you can only adjust two parameters - the Module orientation and enable Align rows that work the same way as described for the previous layout systems.

Spacing settings

After choosing the system type that you want to use, you can now set up the Spacing settings. This submenu is split into three parts - Design, Corridor, and Height settings.

Design settings

The first step is to select one of two generation types in the Design settings submenu.

  • Fixed-spacing - this generation type gives the option to manually define the spacing between the modules.

    • This spacing option is available for all system types.

  • Shade-free - this generation type sets the sun position angle, inner spacing, and pitch automatically based on location, date, and time. Column spacing needs to be defined manually. This generation type is no longer supported in Version 1.29 and later.

    • This spacing option is available for all system types except Flush mount.

Corridor settings

If you need to use corridors, you would need to enable it by clicking on the Corridor check box.

Once the corridors are enabled, you have two spacing options:

  • Modules - this spacing type will place the gaps according to specified Rows and Columns module patterns. For example, if you have rows set to 8 then the vertical gap will be placed every 8 modules vertically; if the column amount is set to 10 then the horizontal gap will be placed every 10 modules horizontally.

  • Distance - this spacing type will place the gaps according to the Rows and Columns distance patterns. For example, if you have rows set to 10 meters then the vertical gap will be placed before the 10 meters mark vertically; if the column amount is set to 12 meters the horizontal gap will be placed before the 12 meters mark horizontally.

The corridor gaps can be adjusted for both spacing types according to your needs by changing Vertical and Horizontal gaps.

Height settings

The last parameter to set up before placing the modules is Height above the roof. This measurement defines the distance between the roof and the bottom of the modules lowest point.

After all settings are set up you can then place the modules on your designed roof. To do so, click on the Place modules functions; You will be prompted to select the roof. After the roof is selected, press Space or Enter on the keyboard. Then, define the alignment line and press Space or Enter to finalize.

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