Why is a Site Survey required?

This is a question most tend to ask when they are contemplating setting up a Rooftop Solar Photo Voltaic Power Generation System. Whilst there are several reasons why a site survey is a pre-condition here are 5 key ones:

1.No two rooftops are alike!

Yes indeed! Regardless of construction similarities between rooftops in the same neighbourhood there are several physical parameters that may differ. Starting with the surroundings of the house/rooftop, i.e.

Moreover, India's Paris Conference commitments have made the country a hotbed of activity for renewable power, with solar leading the charge. Solar power companies from all over the world are targeting the Indian rooftop solar and commercial solar markets. However, Indian solar energy companies are also in the fray, offering lucrative solar panel prices and solar installations as per government guidelines. 

  • Difference in the number and height of the trees around the property
  • Parapet height
  • Orientation of the house itself (which direction your roof faces)
  • Presence and location of water tanks
  • Stair case lobby etc.

Solar panels need sunlight and the way and how much sunlight falls on your rooftop is critical to designing your Solar Power Generation System. 

2.Space the final frontier!

While area in square feet or square meters is critical for estimating the size of plant one can install, the exact shape and dimensions of your roof shall finally determine the design of the rooftop solar power plant. The arrangement of panels is a combination of tech and real estate led decision. Roofs tend to be irregular in their shape and often the actual space available for utilisation is constrained by this.

3.Measurement is key!

Solar Power Generation Systems (SPGS) are akin to a custom made suit. The art of measurement determines how good the fit is or in the case of a rooftop SPGS, the system performance! There are several measurements that are required to be made. While panels and layout of arrays is the most obvious one, the other important ones are distance of the distribution board, location of the energy meter, determining/earmarking where the grid tie inverter or the power conditioning unit, the earthing pits, the lightning arrestor etc. would be located etc. All these determine the length of cable runs and other accessories. Needless to say the costing of the solution is also dependant on such measurements.

4.Forces of nature!

An SPGS installation project involves a fair amount of civil engineering work. Factors like the height of the roof, the construction method adopted for building your roof are critical for deciding the type of structure to be deployed on the roof. The solution will vary depending on whether the roof is flat or sloping, the kind of thermal insulation etc. If there are minimal obstructions on the rooftop with ample space, the chosen structure would be a simple ground mount, else an elevated structure has to be used. The strength, gauge and material for the structure is determined basis the profile of the roof. If you live in a coastal area perhaps an Aluminium structure would be recommended. If the wind-speeds in your area are high, the structure would have to be strong enough to withstand the same. The site survey leads to the design of a safe and secure structure to withstand all vagaries of nature and the passage of time.

5.How much energy?

The rooftop Photo Voltaic power system is being designed specifically for your house. Therefore, it is important to understand the types of loads (house hold equipment) connected and the typical usage pattern of these loads. Another parameter that determines the type of solution itself is the availability of power supply i.e. the timing, frequency and duration of power outages in your locality. The sizing of the SPGS solution needs be optimised to cater to your load consumption when utility power is available (in case of off-grid solutions; when it is not). This is primarily to ensure the system generates enough in order to minimise your electricity bill if not totally eliminate it (in case of off-grid solutions, the usage of alternate/back-up power sources such as DG sets is eliminated).

To summarise, a Site Survey is the opportunity for the right solution for you to be designed right!

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