Frame and park settings
To start off with single-axis tracker generation you need to first setup your framing and placement of tables. To do so - click on Frame & park settings and go through the three tabs in there.
- Current preset - create, save, or delete your presets (presets apply for the current DWG and can be imported/export to other DWGs)
- Module parameters - define your main module parameters.
- Frame parameters - define your main frame parameters.
- Custom piling - define your piling setup and pole distances for the frame.
- Framing type - select either fixed-tilt or single-axis trackers or east-west.
- Preset library - this is where all your created presets for this DWG can be selected for generation. You can select multiple amounts of tables.
- Frame placement order - there is currently only one type of placement for single-axis trackers which means smaller tables will be placed further away from the alignment line.
Park settings are split into three separate parts - Park parameters, Corridor settings, Frame height settings:
In park parameters, you can define distances between tables like inner spacing (E-W spacing) or row spacing (N-S spacing). Tracker tables are placed using a fixed distance therefore the Fixed pitch checkbox is always enabled.
One of the more important settings here is the Aligned rows toggle which changes the table placement output. You can hover over the checkbox to understand the difference:
In corridor settings, you can define spaces for access or maintenance roads, therefore, splitting up your tracker layout into separate groups.
Draw corridor lines can also be enabled to automatically create polylines in the middle of the corridor. These lines can be used in several ways later on for drawing roads or generating devices and cabling. Here's a sample image below of using the Draw road feature on a corridor line.
Frame height settings (terrain-based layout)
At the last step, you can optionally define table placement on terrain and add limits for hills and ditches along with pole length limits. You can learn more about this by clicking below:
Layout generation settings
- Select restriction zone layer (boundaries on this layer will be avoided by frames)
- Select units (millimeters/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 (3D modules, poles) to increase the performance of AutoCAD.
- Terrain you can select or reselect the terrain objects.
- Indicative frames - change the colors for tables that exceed the allowed inclination or are in violation of the allowed hill or ditch tolerance.
For information about tree shading settings please click below:
Defining generation and exclusion 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 separate from the actual site boundary and is 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.
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)
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, terrain data (optional), and drawing the alignment line.
Aligned rows - enabling or disabling this checkbox in the park settings will directly impact the table generation. Using aligned rows will allow you to have a more orderly layout when free space is plenty. However, if you don't have a lot of space and need to fill in more capacity then not aligning the rows is a better idea.
Alignment line - PVcase aligns tables towards a line that can be drawn on the boundary of the PV area, inside or outside. When drawing the polyline simply select as many points you need and hit ENTER or SPACE after you're done.
🛈 To learn more about drawing alignment lines please click below.
Generate multiple areas - this generation should be used when multiple areas are next to each other and need to have rows aligned between them. To use this generation simply select the areas you want to generate and draw a shared alignment line for all of them.
Moving frames manually (shadow frames)
After generation, you can freely move tables around and copy them. However, sometimes they might turn red because they need to be adapted to terrain or reassigned to an area. Until they are resolved they will not be counted inside Layout information.
🛈 To learn more about how to work with shadow frames please click below.
To align or not to align rows
In some circumstances, it is important to understand the differences between using and not using aligned rows and what changes in the layout this can introduce.
For example, using aligned rows might create a layout that has to be adjusted to fill more capacity by moving tables around by hand (see picture below). Rerunning the same generation without aligned rows will put tables closer to restriction areas but the rows will not be aligned between each other: