SketchUp for solar- 3D modeling brings home the sun!

Site designs have been 2D for years, simple sketches that show where the solar array will be mounted to the house.

That is normally effective and can give the general idea of what a solar system will look like installed on a building or house. It’s good for installation clarification, but not so good for “selling” the PV system.

When you want to really get the full experience there is no substitute for 3D modeling. SketchUp is the premier tool for doing those types of renderings and we have recently began offering 3D models to our clients.

Think about it. What “makes” you buy a car? It’s not a photograph of the car. It is not really “bought” until you are actually in the car and driving down the road. When you can see yourself as the driver, and when you can see other people looking at you in the car with “jealousy.” Maybe even taking down the convertible top and driving down “the strip” or along the “beach.”

The sale of the car occurs when you “envision” yourself with the product-  when it becomes yours.  It is visceral and earthy. No amount of talking can ever allow one to envision the end product.

 3D modeling is one way to get a feel for how the system will look on the property. It’s not the only way to bring the PV system to life, but it is a good way. We have found it very helpful as we provide proposals to use a SketchUp model so that the PV system jumps off the printed page.

Simple Energy Works is now offering SketchUp models for homeowners and business owners here in Tennessee so that they can see what the finished product will look like on their property. This SketchUp design work is included in our premium solar assessment ($50) and that whole fee is credited towards the purchase price of the system.

We are also offering this design service to other solar installers who would like to include a SketchUp render of the house/building for their own customers (or on which they are installing a system). We can do a basic render for $50, and the more complex renderings are simply charged by the hour (after that first hour).
 Not only can we do the 3D rendering, but the house can also be geo-located and a shading analysis can be done at the same time. This shading analysis can help see shading issues that may pop up over the course of a year. Using the exact location of the house and the exact orientation of the building can show shading issues from dormers, chimneys, etc. Now these shading issues should have already been caught with the shading analysis tools available (solar pathfinder, solmetric suneye, etc.), but some may require 3D modeling to figure out.

SketchUp can be used to figure out spacing between rows in ground mount arrays because it uses the actual sun position for that location.

We are solar professionals, and we do SketchUp. We know the language, the design and the processes of the solar industry. As a matter of fact, we have 3 NABCEP certified employees. Don’t spend all of your time trying to explain solar to some SketchUp designer (who may barely speak English) when we have the design and solar skills already in one package.

SketchUp is easy to tinker with, but takes a lot of training to become proficient at rendering quality models. We have the training and the experience to model your house or your next project. By all means, pick up SketchUp and begin the modeling process. If you can make it work- we totally recommend that you begin using these renderings in your proposals (or for site design).

If you need us to render a building or house we will be happy to help. Our designers can normally turn a model out in less than 24 hours.

Who doesn’t want to see their property in 3D?

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