On occasion, the creation and editing of a manual, human-built design and proposal is needed to deliver a solar system design for your customer. This can be the case, for example, when aerial mapping lacks the capability for Elli and the app to deliver a traditional 3D design. In this article we will explain and illustrate when and how to create your own 3D designs, and when to request a manual design.

As a leader in the renewable energy and technology space, we are always improving and enhancing our platform’s features and benefits, in this case to empower users to create your own 3D home image, on which you can then design and build your solar system.

Creating Your Own Manual Design - If Elli and the app indicate the need for a manual design when you enter the desired address into the app, select the ‘Design on your computer’ link and use the Manual Design Tool to quickly trace the home’s outline and let Elli convert it into a 3D rendering of the home that you can then design on as normal through your app. Reference ‘Creating Your Own Manual Solar Design’ below for step-by-step direction.

Requesting and Submitting for a Manual Design - If the app indicates the need for a manual design when you enter the desired address and one of the following occurs, you’ll select the ‘Submit Manual Request’ link to submit the needed information to allow our design team to create a 2D design and populate it to your app for further design and financing. Reference ‘Requesting and Submitting for a Manual Design’ below for step-by-step direction:

  • The image of the home is outdated, showing incorrect shading or tree coverage

  • The home has a very complex roof

  • There is no image of a home when the address is entered into the app

  • The home has flat roof sections

  • The home has moderate to high amounts of shading

Creating Your Own Manual Solar Design

1] Knowing when you can create your own manual 3D design, and when you’ll still need to submit for a manual design is super-straightforward. When you enter the address of the desired home and tap the pin for Elli to generate a design, if the below screen appears, you will need to select which manual design process to use in creating your design.

2] For all other homes, choose “Design on your computer” to use the new design tool. Next, a window will appear, allowing you to share a link to your personal desktop or laptop. We recommend emailing the link to your Clean.Tech email account so you can access it on your computer. If you are connected to your MAC OS device via ‘Airdrop’, this can be used as well, and your computer will automatically open a window to the design tool.

3] Open the link from your email on your desktop or laptop computer (not a mobile device) to view the “flat” image of the home.

4] Adjust the view of the home to a ‘birdseye’ view. Do this by ‘clicking and holding’ on the screen, dragging downward until you are looking straight down at the roof. You can move the entire scene using ‘Shift+Click’ to drag the scene on the screen.

5] Place the crosshairs cursor on a corner of the primary solar roof plane on the “flat 2D” house image. Click your mouse to anchor a point and start the outline of the home. A line will appear to guide you to outline the home with the 90º angles necessary to accurately build the home. Note length is calculated, in feet & inches, as you trace the home. Follow the orange line even if the line is not on the roof. Some satellite images are skewed and do not display true 90º angles of the home.

6] If you make an error in tracing the outline of the home, click on the ‘undo’ button in the upper right of your screen to remove the most recent anchors tracing the home. If the finished structure is not correct, click the ‘reset’ button to start again.

Design Tips:

  • Trace the home using 90º angles as consistently as possible

  • If there is a second structure on the property to design on, simply start tracing the next structure when finished with the first. Do not click ‘save’ until all structures are designed.

  • Do not be overly concerned with tracing small changes in a roof line. Perfect accuracy is not necessary. [Example: Dormers on the roof. Don’t feel the need to trace minute angles, as the tool does not always register them, and they often represent roof planes where solar won't be designed. Focus on tracing the roof planes where the solar design will be placed]

  • And of course, exercise patience with this new tool as it’s improved, and remember - Practice makes perfect!

7] When you have completed tracing the perimeter you can refine the relative height of the home by using a ‘click and hold’ move by placing your mouse on the small red dot and moving the cursor up and down to change the height. [The default height is for a 1 story home, double it for 2 story home]

8] To make Elli’s 3D image match the rooflines of the home, you may need to edit a roof plane to change the orientation or shape of that section of the roof. To do this, simply double click on the roof plane in question to have Elli match her design with the actual image or design of the home’s roof. This will convert a ‘hip’ roof to a ‘gabled’ roof.

9] To adjust the slope of the roof, use the red ‘Slope’ circle above the ridgeline on the roof to change the slope angle. Click on the slope button and move your mouse up and down, the app will display the roof’s slope in degrees in real time, as you adjust it to your desired pitch. Design Tip: If Google Street view is available, try to match the roof pitch as best you can. Sometimes the shade of the roof plane is visible on the ground, match that pitch angle as best you can. Pitch affects solar production, so be as accurate as you can.

10] To adjust for shading on various portions of the roof, just click on the desired roof plane affected by shading. This roof plane will then have a yellow highlighted border. Notice the box in the upper right of your screen, it will give you these 4 options to choose from and will recalculate the production values for panels installed here to accurately reflect shading conditions.

11] Use the ‘Build A Tree’ feature when trees are present, to mimic exact conditions around the home and simulate shading effects on production values. To add a tree to your design:

  • Click ‘Build A Tree’,

  • Your mouse will turn into a blue circle, which is the indicator for where the trunk of the tree will be placed,

  • Edit the tree dimensions by adjusting the various red circles indicating the tree’s height and circumference,

  • Click ‘Stop Building Tree’ when finished,

  • If an error is made, click ‘Delete This Tree’ to start over.

  • For reference, a telephone pole is 40 feet tall. Look for a shadow of one in the scene or reference Google street view if available.

12] When the structure is accurate and to your liking, click ‘save’ in the upper right of the window. Within 10-15 seconds, you will be able to access the home in the Clean.Tech app on your iOS device.

Building a Ground Mount

13] If you need to build a ground mount, place a pin (long hold) in the desired location in the App. Hold down on the pin like a normal design and when the pop-up appears, select ‘Design on your computer’ [See Steps 2 & 3 above, for greater detail]. Design Tip: Avoid obstructions between the ground mount and the home, to allow for trenching.

14] Trace a rectangle that will be large enough to fit the needed panels. Double click the Hip roof triangles to make one large rectangle. Adjust the pitch to 15º and the height to 3’. Add any trees nearby East/South/West of the array, north side trees do not impact solar. Click ‘Save’ in the upper right hand corner.

15] In the App, press and hold the 3D button until the splash appears. Rotate the panels to landscape and try to place 4 panels per column. Please use an even number of panels so the array does not have any empty spots.

Selecting Financing & Refining the Solar System Design

After you click ‘Save’ to your 3D home image, you will be able to access the home in the Clean.Tech app on your iOS device. Here, designing the solar system, selecting financing, and sharing the proposal from your iOS device is done exactly the same as if it was a traditional 3-dimensional Elli-designed home.

Requesting & Submitting for a Manual Solar Design

16] To submit your manual design to the Clean.Tech team simply click ‘Submit Manual Request’ and follow the prompts to submit the necessary information.

17] When the next pop up appears, please indicate the customer’s annual kWh usage, the desired percentage of annual energy usage the homeowner would like to offset (ideally 100% for full offset of their bill), and in the “Notes” field, provide as many details as you feel necessary for our team to design the desired system for your customer. This can be anything you feel is important to get the initial design as accurate as possible.

18] Then, simply click “Submit”. Our design team will immediately receive your request. It typically takes 20 to 30 minutes for a manual proposal to be created. Proposals will populate on your App the same way your 3D proposals do.

19] Additionally, you will receive a notification in the App and Dashboard from Petr as the proposal is created, with a six-digit tracking number included. For panel-related edits, use Clean.Tech Chat Support to make this request, and use the 6-digit tracking number in your request to assist our team in quickly locating and editing the system

Please consult our Help Center for additional information on optimizing your Clean.Tech experience, and connect with us directly or through Chat Support for any further clarification around your ability to use this Manual Design tool to create your own 3-dimensional design.

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