We had lost the chance to set the solar orientation in the Free version. Shame, since in interior design we have to set the light manually in many occasions. For those that work with the Pro version activate it in View/Toolbars/Solar View.
In Google SketchUp 8 -free version-, north is fixed in alignment with the internal Y-Axis. The green drawing Axis is aligned with north when the drawing axes are in their default position.
So for those that work in the free version rotate the model to achieve the relationship to north you require.
Then use the Axes tool to position the Drawing Axes to suit working on the model. Take into account that wherever the Drawing Axes are positioned, north always remains aligned with the internal Y-Axis.