Site survey and its importance

A site survey is done to collect information about various aspects related to a rooftop solar power plant installation, such as local conditions, consumer’s power consumption needs, physical details of the site such as roof, availability of access, height and nearby objects, etc.

Usually, for small rooftop solar power plants requirements site surveys are often done manually by skilled manpower, on the basis of which a CAD model of the site is prepared. This model is then used for the power plant design, estimation of balance of system and eventually the estimation of budget. However, for large roofs and critical areas which may consume more time conducting a survey manually, drones are also being used to inspect such locations.

Why is a site survey so important?

  • Each rooftop is unique – In India, each building and its rooftop is unique. It has unique designs, unique construction and therefore needs to be studied as a unique individual case. Depending on the rooftop type, available area, orientation, its construction and strength the module mounting structures also vary, therefore the site survey of the roof becomes really important.
  • Shadow analysis is crucial – Owing to the construction pattern in India, there is always a possibility that there are some large trees, high-rise buildings, or structures around the majority of the rooftops, that will cast a shadow which will impact the total sunlight received by the installed solar power plant. Therefore a detailed shadow analysis is a must to assess the correct generation potential based on the location of the solar PV modules.
  • Electricity consumption pattern –  Analysis of the consumption pattern of a household, power outage study of the location and sanctioned load of a consumer is very important when a rooftop solar power plant is designed. This also helps to design the power plant within the limits prescribed in regulations.
  • Effective use of the roof- A site survey also helps to decide where would the various components like the inverters, junction box or batteries (if applicable) can be installed to better use the roof area.
  • Any special requirements can be addressed – Site survey also helps to understand the user-specific requirements and conditions. This can be about the area a user would like to provide for PV installation, removal of any stationary items of the room like water tank, dish antennas, AC fans or installation of elevated structures, etc. All your demands, instructions and requests can be noted and taken care of while designing the power plant.

 

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