HELP NEEDED: 2D Complex Roof Drawing in SketchUp Pro

Hello All,

So we are using SketchUp to draw out 2D roof images for our solar panel arrays and then using Layout to create beautiful design and installation packets.

I am having a major issue with drawing complex 2D roofs in SketchUp right now. Here are my main concerns:

  1. If I am trying to draw to scale (using the exact measurements provided to me from the site evaluators), I often find that my roof drawings end up looking quite different from the initial design and from the pictures with the Site Evaluators. One of my colleagues mentioned that another program we use for design systems (Aurora) takes into account the pitch of the roof, but in SketchUp, this would not be the case in a 2D design. The dilemma is whether I should just focus on drawing to scale with the exact measurements provided or should I try to scale the images so they match the design? (I think I would run into problems with fitting all the panels on the roof if I do that.

  2. I am just getting the hang of drawing to scale using the tape tool and scale tool. If you all have any tips (given what I am using SketchUp to do), please let me know.

Thanks, Everyone! Happy Designing!

  • Kendra

In SketchUp you don’t “draw to scale”, you model at full size.

It sounds like the issue is you are interested in the faces of the roof, not the projections of the faces as you would have in a 2D plan view. Since you are using a 3D modeling application, why don’t you draw the roof in 3D and add your solar panels to them. You can create 2D views with the camera positioned square to the roof faces so that you aren’t showing a projection of the roof. From the same model you could also create perspective views which would make the model easier to understand for lay people.


@kwebb, as @DaveR suggests, use the information including pitch to draw 3D (and scale 1:1). You can then apply ‘Glue to’ (the roof face) panel components on the slanted roof face.

To see the roof face plus panels ‘head on’ select the roof face and use ‘Allign View’ in the right click context menu.


Hi DaveR and kwebb,

I totally agree with Dave since we just finished a representation for a customer concerning effects of off-sight units’ shadows onto the customer’s roof areas destined for solar panels. SU’s shade/shadow ability did the trick in this case.

The build of the customer’s roof areas was a bit difficult since no architectural plans were available so we had to use GE, DG and NearMap in addition to Placemaker to replicate an existing building, then measure the square footage of the shaded areas, etc. (reference g.h.hubers’ instruction).Sample%20-%200800AM


Aligning correct 2D roof lines with google earth is almost impossible, whereas a 3D (wire frame) can be orbited to the camera tilt for a much closer fit

There are a few free roof generators that can help to build 3D models including
make sure to use this above the z=0 axis

plus you could use some of my DCs to add to or create from, each DC can be outer shelled and provided the build is a solid further bits added to it.

If you send a private message with a few jobs attached, can show by a youtube private link a possible workflow

attached sample file with DCs loaded but not visible, drag in from home tab,
#… are ones that can be outer shelled.
_… ones are a few samples of glue to roof accessories
x… ones not to be used other than a global data.

roof.skp (699.4 KB)