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In this tutorial we will discuss steps to be taken in order to create fixed-tilt system layout in selected area.

Before generating tables, Layout, Frame & Park settings must be set.

Layout generation settings

Layout parameters

  • Select restriction zone layer (boundaries on this layer will be avoided by frames)
  • Select units (milimeters/meters or inches/feet)
  • Topographic layout option allows to generate on terrain survey or on flat surface (satellite data)
  • Optimized frames option hides unnecessary objects to increase performance of AutoCAD.
  • Maximum inclination frames option allows to place and color code frames that are exceeding the inclination limit.
  • Hill and Ditch tolerance frames option allows to place and color code frames that are exceeding the terrain tolerance limit. (Defined in frame & park settings)

Tree shading parameters

  • Shading angle parameters allow the user to define how much shading area should be created when generating tree shading. You can change this in North - South or E/W direction from the tree. 
  • Also, you can specify a fixed offset around the tree so tables don't get placed too close to it.

Frame and park settings

There is a total of 3 tabs inside the Frame & Park settings window.
Go through each of these tabs to setup your framing type and layout distances.

Frame creation

Frame presets - create, save or delete your presets (presets applies for current DWG only)
Module parameters - define your main module parameters
Frame parameters - define your main frame parameters
Custom piling - define your piling setup and distances in the frame (note: distance references does not consider frame overhangs, therefore minimal differences can be present)

Placement setup

Framing type - select fixed-tilt or singe-axis tracker system.
Generation type - 3 different generation types are currently available:

  • Full frames - PVcase will generate only one type of frame in the area (note: may leave unfilled spots, but simplifies installation process).
  • Full & half frames - PVcase will optimize the layout by placing half frames in places where full frame do not fit (note: PVcase will always try to find a pair for a half frame for easier electrical design) 
  • Multiple presets - PVcase will optimize the layout by placing several different frame presets from the selected preset library. (note: placement order can be changed by toggling different options for the order - currently 1 option available.)

Park settings

Park parameters - define your frame placement parameters:

  • Distance parameters - Input the Shading limit angle and PVcase will calculate the pitch distance and row spacing for frames placed on a flat ground for that shading limit. The distance values can be restricted by minimum and maximum inputs for inclining and declining areas. Note: Users that work with fixed pitch systems or satellite data - check the Fixed pitch checkbox and input either the pitch distance or row spacing.
  • Column spacing - minimum distance between frames in E-W for fixed tilt.
  • Azimuth - changes frame azimuth from the South.
  • Frame orientation - South or North facing frames - depending on project location to face the sun.
  • Fixed pitch - option to generate a layout with a fixed pitch distance while on terrain. (note: might result in inter-row shading losses)

Frame height settings (advanced) - advanced user input to define frame placement on terrain. If you wish to learn more about this concept - click below:

Defining boundaries and exclusion zones

Defining generation boundaries (PV areas)

Generation boundaries or PV areas are defined as a region drawn with a closed polyline. In order to create such a boundary - you can use AutoCAD's polyline function or any other drawing tool that will give you a closed boundary (i.e. rectangle)

Usually, this region or boundary is different from the actual site boundary has an offset from it.

🛈 Be sure to always close the polyline by using the close command (enter C into the command line while still drawing the line) or attaching the polyline end vertex to the start point with the green object snap.

Boundary troubleshooting

This error message appears when there are problems with the PV area region. Try checking the vertices to see whether you might have any polyline crossing over each other that create  smaller areas or perhaps vertices on top of each other.

Defining exclusion zones (offset areas)

Exclusion zones - by default, the PVcase offset layer is regarded as the exclusion zone layer. You can change which layer should be regarded as the exclusion zone in Layout generation settings.

This means, that any closed areas on this layer will force the software to avoid placing frames in that area - you can draw it using the same approach as you would for a PV area. (Closed polyline)

Exclusion zones are also created using the Generate tree shading tool. It will create a cone or circle shaped offset around the tree in the selected restriction zone layer. (PVcase offsets by default)

🛈 To learn more about Generate tree shading and other action tools, click below:


Once the parameters are all set, the generation can be done by selecting one out of two generation types.

Generate single area - generate tables in a single area by selecting the area's polyline and specifying the alignment side by clicking left or right of the area.

Generate multiple areas - generates tables in multiple areas by selecting multiple areas and alignment for each of them.

This generation should be used when multiple areas are next to each other. Multiple area generation will align frames from two areas to avoid shading from one area to the other. 

Difference between two types of generation can be seen below

Shadow frames

After generation, if frames were manipulated (e.g. moved, copied) or restricted for placement, they will appear color coded in layout and will not be considered in Layout information.

🛈 To learn more how to indicate and deal with shadow frames please click below.

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