I'm looking for a good source of information for solar panel software. My dad's company has been relying on an external service to do the calculations and drawing of the solar designs, but he wants to do it himself because the external service asks loads of money and are sometimes 2 weeks late with their reports. We use the solmetric suneye device to measure shadow, this data can be imported to the solmetric software called PV designer. However, PV designer is not that great. There's no auto-filling the roof you drew if it's not a rectangle, there's no option for custom no-module zone (only rectangle or circle) and it hasn't been updated in half a year. Are there any decent and easy drawing programs specifically for solar panels?
I wonder what you guys think? Is there any international forum for installers and solar panel enthusiasts? What do you guys use? I've seen pv*sol which is an expensive software package, any experience with this? Others use google sketchup and import radiation data from google earth to generate expected revenues. How reliable is the data? And is google sketchup any good for solar panels? I'm seems to be a bit to general purpose for solar.
Are there any other shadow measuring devices like solmetric which are reliable and have a modern software suite? There is so much software for solar panels but it's hard to say which is crap or hasn't been updated or finding any reviews of them. A drawing/calculation/... program in one would also be nice, currently we use an excel sheet for the calculations.
Really, any advice would be much appreciated, or a pointer to some better resources than reddit. I'm located in western europe if that would help.