Why You Need A Site Survey for Solar installation?

Site Survey for Solar PV

Site Survey for Solar PV

Are you a buyer looking for a rooftop for your house or commercial establishment?

Have you ever wondered what makes a solar plant installation successful?

One of the key areas that Solar buyers and vendors take for granted is the Site survey. This phase is very important in the process of Solar installation as it provides crucial information in the solar plant design.

3 important factors considered when designing a solar PV system are:

  • Feasibility – Is the system feasible for implementation?
  • Viability – Is it economically viable to implement the system and reap benefits in the long run?
  • Needs of the user – Understanding the user requirements and needs is of utmost importance.

A site survey helps understand the above 3 aspects in detail.

You can dramatically increase the output of the Solar PV system by getting the Site survey properly done.

In today’s post we look at what exactly happens in a site survey before solar installation?

Ready?

Let’s get down to it.

Site survey for Solar PV

Site Survey is carried out to help design a proper Solar pv system that suits the user’s requirements. It’s customary to begin with to collect all the details about the site before making a final proposal to the client for a customized solar solution.

How to do a Solar Site Survey?

Things carried out during a Site survey are:

  • Roof Orientation-  to get to know a suitable location for the Solar Panels.
  • Shading Analysis- Do a Shading Analysis to analyze the solar irradiance on the solar panels during the day. This helps in identifying the suitable location for solar panels for optimum output.
  • Roofing Details – Study the roofing details to install the right solar pv system.
  • Load Analysis – To understand the energy needs of the building.
  • Solar PV System usability check – to make sure the solar panels is easily accessible by the user and other reasons.
  • Financial Analysis – To understand the financial viability of the project.

Site Survey for Solar PV system

Below is a detailed look at each of the activities carried out during a site survey for solar installation.

Solar PV Orientation(Azimuth)

This is an important activity undertaken during the Solar site survey to determine the the direction the roof Solar PV system for receiving maximum sunlight during the day. It is also called Solar irradiation. The Solar PV system is usually placed in the South direction when the location is in the northern hemisphere for maximum solar irradiation.

Shading Analysis for Solar Panels

To get the optimum output from the Solar PV system one needs to ensure solar irradiation is almost nearly shade free. This consists of analysing Solar Insolation(i.e studying the way the sunlight moves over time in a day). This is done using several Solar shading tools and physically studying the movement of sunlight.Trackers can also be used to track the sunlight to actively capture sunlight for solar irradiation.

Also the neighborhood  is analyzed the and seen that there are no obstructions that create shade which can hamper the electricity production due to shading issues. Other ways of dealing with Shading issue is by shifting to an alternative location or using Micro inverters( these are attached to individual solar modules that convert solar energy to electricity to optimize the electrical output) instead of using a single solar inverter.

Roof structure Analysis

Since each and every house roof has a different structure, the Solar PV system installed would vary based on the rooftop dimensions(surface area) and other unique specifications specific to each. The inclination, direction and even construction material of the roof type is considered before the solar installation. If the rooftop is not suitable then ground mounting options can also be considered for feasibility.

Following are the rooftop details collected to get the most out of Solar PV system t be installed:

  • Coordinates of site (Latitude & Longitude) ( Optional  )
  • Building ownership ( Owned / Leased / Rental )
    • Details of lease structure (if leased) (Lease period, No of parties etc.)
  • Building Roof Height / Number of Floors     
    • Roof type ( Flat/ Inclined)
    • (sheet thickness if available)
  • Shadow free Rooftop Area Available for Solar/Wind Installation (in Square Feet) Approximate.
  • Maximum Load Capacity of the Roof – if available (kg/m2)

Load Analysis

Load Analysis is done to understand the current electricity utilization and the prospective power usage to get a good understanding of the kind of Solar system to deploy.

It is done by collecting the load information of the major energy using appliances and ways are devised to bring in efficiency into the system to reduce the electricity output from the solar pv system.

Following are some of details we collect from the clients in order to understand the power requirements:

  • Sanctioned Load from Electricity Board (kVA)
  • Consumer category ( LT/ HT / kVA )
  • Electricity price exclusive of taxes (INR/kWh)
  • Average monthly consumption (kWh/Units )
  • Approximate Daytime Consumption ( kWh/Units ) (8 am to 5 pm)
  • Daily Base Load (kVA)
  • Average daily Power Cuts (hrs/day)
  • No. of Non-Operational days in a week
  • Total Non-operational days in a year (including holidays and weekends)
  • Base load on non operational days (kVA)

Also collected are the details about the electricity consumption over the year to get to know the power consumption pattern (as indicated in the table below) . This helps in designing the right Solar PV system that suits your power consumption pattern. The Solar PV system may not be providing 100% of the electricity from solar but at least 60-70% of the electrical power needed by the building.

 

Month    Total Electricity Consumption

( Units /month)

Month       Total Electricity Consumption

( Units /month)

JanJuly
FebAugust            UNITS
MarchSept           UNITS
AprilOct
MayNov
JuneDec

A grid tied or off grid system can be installed based on the user requirements and power utilization.

Solar PV system Usability

 The site analysis helps in having the Solar PV system installed in a site that is most convenient from the standpoint of usability. Also the location for  other things like the inverter, battery backup, distribution box etc are considered to have the Solar PV system installed properly. Also considered is the way pv system is going to be connected to the existing electrical system.

Financial analysis

Here things like Financial incentives, government subsidies, the ROI and other things are considered which explain the economic viability of the Solar project.

An important consideration to look at the Net Metering option where surplus power is supplied to the DISCOM and the DISCOM credits the user for the extra power supplied.

Conclusion

Doing a Site Survey is critical for the successful execution of a solar project as crucial information is gathered during this phase to enable optimal power output from the Solar installation.

If you are looking to install a Rooftop Solar system, look no further – Lavancha helps you to get a proper site survey done so that you get the best out of the solar pv system. Get an appointment with our consultant today for a Solar site survey.

 

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