New HelioScope Feature: Trees & Diffuse Shading

Trees have been a highly requested feature in HelioScope, and we’re excited to announce that they are now available for all users today. With the release of tree shapes comes an update to Keepout UI, and a more advanced simulation engine capable of handling complex shapes and accurately modeling diffuse shading

Tree Keepouts

First, let's take a look at the new tree Keepouts and how to use them!

Adding Trees

To add a tree Keepout, go to the Keepout menu and click the Tree button, then click the center point of where you want the tree on your map, and click one last time to set the radius of the tree. You can also edit the radius and height of the tree to draw the most accurate shape possible.

New Keepout UI

In addition to trees, we've updated the Keepout menu to make your experience editing Keepouts as easy as possible.

New Keepout Menu

Draw new Keepouts using the Keepout button, draw trees using the Tree button, and edit and move Keepouts using the mouse button. You can now click on Keepouts to edit them immediately without having to click the Edit Shapes checkbox, or hit Escape to exit out of what you have currently selected.

Diffuse Shading

So what makes the addition of Diffuse Shading so important for trees?

Diffuse irradiance (light not in a direct line from the sun) provides approximately 30% of the light that any module sees. This is ambient light reflected off of other objects.

Diffuse shade is when objects block some of this reflected (diffuse) light. This is particularly important for large objects like trees, because even if a module isn't directly shaded by a tree, if it's nearby, the tree may still be blocking a lot of reflected light. Now that we have incorporated a full diffuse shading engine, you can deliver even more accurate results with HelioScope that consider this additional shading loss. HVAC units and other objects that create diffuse shade will also be included in this model.

Finally, this new shading engine is powerful enough to incorporate many other new shapes and racking types, so be on the lookout for more additions like this to HelioScope!

Canute Haroldson

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San Francisco

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