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Marco Holst

Marco, former head of product management for a manufacturing company, is an expert in building scalable processes. He founded Kwest to develop software that accelerates the rollout of renewable energy solutions.
Project management

Solar site survey checklist

What is a solar site survey?

A site survey involves a comprehensive analysis of a particular location or area to gather crucial information, such as the feasibility of a solar installation and the estimation of costs. This process includes a thorough examination of the site and the acquisition of valuable data. The gathered data is important for planning, designing and building of solar projects. 

How much effort is a solar site survey?

The required effort of a solar site survey depends on the size of the solar project. With the available tooling today, residential solar site surveys are quite simple to perform. This can usually be done within a few hours. Generally, larger and more complex solar projects require a more detailed site survey to ensure accuracy and effectiveness in the final installation.

What is included in a site survey checklist?

  1. Site information
    1. Type of structure (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.)
    2. Address of the site, topography, climate
    3. Site owner’s contact information (usually from a CRM)
    4. Information of other relevant stakeholders (eg. municipality for Agri-PV)
  2. Shading analysis
    1. Identify any nearby buildings or trees that may shade the solar panels
    2. Determine the duration and intensity of shading throughout the day and year
  3. Potential hazards
    1. Identify potential hazards and risks that could arise 
    2. Develop a comprehensive safety plan to mitigate potential risks
  4. Roof analysis (not applicable for solar power plants)
    1. Assess the roof’s orientation 
    2. Check for the roof’s structural integrity and suitability for solar panels
    3. Identify any obstructions, such as vents, skylights, or chimneys
  5. Electrical infrastructure
    1. Identify the electrical service panel and check its capacity
    2. Check for any potential electrical code violations
    3. Determine the optimal location for the solar panel inverter
    4. Check the connection to the grid
  6. Energy usage analysis
    1. Evaluate the current and future energy usage of the site
    2. Review the current and future energy rates
  7. Permitting
    1. Identify any local and state permits that are required
    2. Check for any homeowner association or local restrictions

What equipment is required for testing a solar installation?

Testing a solar installation requires several pieces of specialized equipment to ensure the system is operating correctly and safely. Some of the essential equipment include a digital multimeter (DMM) for measuring DC voltage, current, and resistance, an insulation resistance tester for checking electrical insulation, and a pyranometer for measuring the solar irradiance received by the panels. Metravi has written a detailed list about essential test & measuring instruments for solar technical professionals.

How do you perform a solar site survey?

Now that you know what is included in a site survey checklist you might wonder how you perform a solar site survey. We’ve got you covered since we’ve written a guide about how to perform residential solar site surveys.

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