How to perform a site survey for rooftop solar PV installations?

Performing a site survey for solar installation is the most important first step to collect information about the conditions and issues before any decision made.

The broad scope of the site survey is to determine the following:

  1. the best spots on the roof for PV module placement
  2. shading obstructions (if any)
  3. status of the roof (type, height and orientation)
  4. location of the main electric panel in the building
  5. available locations for mounting electrical components
  6. power availability and consumption pattern information
  7. location of material storage and accessibility to the roof

Various steps followed during a site survey and assessment are highlighted below.

Rooftop analysis

  • assess the load-bearing capacity of the roof, based on the roof design provided by the owner
  • suggest the type of mounting to be constructed to support a load of modules on to the building structure
  • prepare a detailed site map of the rooftop proposed for installation of solar power plant with all coordinates
  • calculate the exact area of the proposed site where the installation is to be made
  • identify the accessibility of the rooftop

Far-shading and near-shading analysis

  • oversee the mapping of the water tanks and other structure on and around the rooftop which may shadow the solar modules or obstruct their installation and carry out the shadow analysis, accordingly

Irradiation and climate analysis

  • analyze the daily, monthly and annual solar resource data for the site to evaluate the potential for solar energy generation at a particular site in consideration
  • ensure collection of data on local weather conditions such as temperature range, flooding, wind speed, humidity, pollution levels, snow and other climatic conditions for the assessment of the impact on solar energy generation

Transmission line & grid availability analysis

  • analyze the information on whether the solar power would also be used to power the local loads or it is to be totally exported to the grid; in case, it is to be totally exported to the grid, the the voltage level is also to be decided
  • check the capacity of distribution transformer & distribution line for power export to the grid
  • check the availability of a junction box or interconnecting system for off-grid solar inverter

How to Perform a Solar Site Survey is briefly explained in a YouTube video by SolarPower Demystified

A Template-RTS Site Survey is available for the understanding of various steps and points to be noted and documented during a site survey. The same can be modified as per user requirements.

 

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