Refining Boundaries

A short guide to using the 2D drawing tool to clean up traced images

Shawn Kranitz avatar
Written by Shawn Kranitz
Updated over a week ago

This tutorial covers how to use the features and capabilities in our 2D drawing tool, including:

  • Refining installation area boundaries

  • Fixing roof faces traced over skewed aerial imagery

  • Working with roof faces with verified dimensions

  • Refining and deleting obstructions

Refining Boundaries

Even with a steady hand, sometimes a traced roof image doesn't come out perfectly. So how can we adjust this? 

Navigate to the particular roof you want to adjust in the Individual Installation Areas section of the project's main page. In the Boundaries section, click on the "Edit Properties" button, denoted by a pencil icon. 

As we can see in the image below, side C is not parallel to side A, even though it should be.

Fortunately, we're able to move individual points on the roof face. By clicking and dragging on point 4, we can line up the roof edge as desired. 

After tracing a roof face from an aerial image, SolarDesignTool will square the face automatically, if the geometry is off by ±4° or less (otherwise, you will need to manually edit the boundaries).

Tip: To clean up a horizontal or vertical line, hold Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) while dragging a point to automatically "snap" to the nearest horizontal or vertical line. The line will highlight in orange when snapping is on.  

In addition to being able to simply clean up angles, you have a great deal of precision control when it comes to adjusting the size of the installation area.

We've already established that we can drag points around with our mouse, but it's also possible to "nudge" individual points, or even entire lines until they fit the size we need. To nudge a point or line, first click on it, then nudge it using the arrow buttons highlighted at the top left of the image below, or using your keyboard's arrow keys.

Tip: You can adjust the nudge amount by entering a new desired nudge value into the window shown below.

Skewed Aerial Imagery

In cases where the aerial image of a roof is at an angle, SolarDesignTool can draw the modules so that they appear in the same plane as the roof. To do this, you must:

  1. Draw out the skewed roof face as it appears in the aerial image.

  2. Edit the boundaries of the 2D view of the roof face after tracing it to square the edges. Hold Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) while dragging a point to automatically "snap" to the nearest horizontal or vertical line.

After you've done this, the modules will be drawn in the plane of the roof face on the site plan. The measurements factored into the array layout and the attachment plan will be based on the refined, squared face.

 Verified Dimensions

If you know the exact dimensions of the roof face and you do not want the oblique projection of the roof face to change when other parameters are changed (for instance, if you change the roof pitch after defining the roof face), you can set this parameter to "yes" to prevent the oblique projection from changing.

If you set this to "no," the oblique projection will be reset when you change the roof pitch or change the installation area in the trace-over widget.

Refining and Deleting Obstructions
We're able to move individual points of the obstruction but first we'll need to select the it. Simply click anywhere inside the obstruction then you'll be able to adjust points in the same manor as refining the roof face. 

If you need to delete an obstruction, first select it then use the delete key (PC) or Fn+Delete (Mac).

Next Steps

After refining our traced roof faces, we'll want to continue on to the System Builder to specify the module, inverter and racking system we'll be using.

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