Many people are users of Google's 3D drawing tool, Sketchup. What many solar designers don't know is that Sketchup can be used to draw a solar array, place it in a specific geographic location and then see the effects of shading on the array over the course of a year. Here are the specific steps to view your array in Sketchup:
- Download and install the free Google Sketchup program.
- Take advantage of hundreds of free 3rd party and Google created tutorials to feel comfortable with the Sketchup interface.
- Draw your own solar array, or download and modify one from the 3D Warehouse built into Sketchup.
- Site the array on or near its planned location using the Google Earth plugin
- Use the Shadows tool to visualize shading of the array for any time of the year.