Solar panel site selection survey using GIS

Blog_Solar_panel_site_selection_survey_using_GIS.jpg

The versatility of a Geographic Information System (GIS) is usually
driven by the user’s request. Although some requests can be more complex
than others, it is often times that simple GIS operations help to
provide the easiest solutions. For the Village of Morton Grove, the
simple, quick and accurate data that the GIS could provide was all that
was needed in order to help the Engineering Department complete a survey
regarding the selection of the most optimal site for a solar panel
installation.

An outside engineering consultant firm was requesting that the
Village of Morton Grove answer the following question: “What is the
distance from the solar panel installation site to its first obstruction
at an angle of 90 degrees and what is the height of that first
obstruction?” In addition, they were interested in answering this same
question for all obstructions at 10 degree intervals ranging from 100 –
270 degrees. For GIS this was a simple request considering the fact that
building heights and angle/distance calculations were easy numbers to
derive from pre-existing data. With the help from internal staff, height
estimates were assigned to all trees in case they were to be the first
obstruction encountered and needed to be considered in survey. From
there it was as simple as drawing lines in the GIS at fixed angles and
ending these lines where they met their first obstruction whether it was
a tree or building. Once all of lines were drawn, it was simple to fill
out and submit the survey with accurate numbers derived from the
digitized data in GIS.

The overall goal was to provide accurate information so that the
engineering consultant firm could determine if the solar panel site
location would receive sufficient sunlight or if it would be highly
obstructed in its proposed location. By using the tools found within
GIS, it was quite easy for the Engineering Department to provide useful
numbers that would help in the decision making process as to whether or
not the proposed location would be the most optimal. Moreover, the
method of using GIS versus sending out field crews to collect this
information manually was much more efficient as well as less costly.

Solar panel site selection survey using GIS

Blog_Solar_panel_site_selection_survey_using_GIS.jpg

The versatility of a Geographic Information System (GIS) is usually
driven by the user’s request. Although some requests can be more complex
than others, it is often times that simple GIS operations help to
provide the easiest solutions. For the Village of Morton Grove, the
simple, quick and accurate data that the GIS could provide was all that
was needed in order to help the Engineering Department complete a survey
regarding the selection of the most optimal site for a solar panel
installation.

An outside engineering consultant firm was requesting that the
Village of Morton Grove answer the following question: “What is the
distance from the solar panel installation site to its first obstruction
at an angle of 90 degrees and what is the height of that first
obstruction?” In addition, they were interested in answering this same
question for all obstructions at 10 degree intervals ranging from 100 –
270 degrees. For GIS this was a simple request considering the fact that
building heights and angle/distance calculations were easy numbers to
derive from pre-existing data. With the help from internal staff, height
estimates were assigned to all trees in case they were to be the first
obstruction encountered and needed to be considered in survey. From
there it was as simple as drawing lines in the GIS at fixed angles and
ending these lines where they met their first obstruction whether it was
a tree or building. Once all of lines were drawn, it was simple to fill
out and submit the survey with accurate numbers derived from the
digitized data in GIS.

The overall goal was to provide accurate information so that the
engineering consultant firm could determine if the solar panel site
location would receive sufficient sunlight or if it would be highly
obstructed in its proposed location. By using the tools found within
GIS, it was quite easy for the Engineering Department to provide useful
numbers that would help in the decision making process as to whether or
not the proposed location would be the most optimal. Moreover, the
method of using GIS versus sending out field crews to collect this
information manually was much more efficient as well as less costly.