Published 13 Apr 2023
What is a Solar Site Survey Checklist?
A solar site survey checklist is a tool that solar installers use to perform comprehensive surveys of a prospective installation site. It outlines all essential areas to assess during the process, such as the roof’s condition, material, orientation, and amount of shading. This checklist ensures that all necessary aspects of the site are evaluated without overlooking any item.
Solar Site Survey Checklist
This solar site survey checklist can be used to determine if a commercial or residential property is suitable for installing solar panels. During site visits, site surveyors can use this checklist to collect information about the site and its roofing, note their observations during assessments, and capture photos and videos of the area. This checklist also allows them to:
- Provide basic details about the potential installation site, such as the building type and energy performance.
- Specify roof dimensions, measurements, and other data needed for solar installation.
- Supply information about the electrical system and monitoring tools on the site.
- Evaluate the suitability of the premises by answering Yes-No-N/A questions.
- Electronically sign off the form and generate a site survey report in digital formats (PDF, Web, Excel, etc.).
In this article
- Importance & Benefits
- Key Elements
- How to Conduct a Solar Site Survey Using a Checklist
- FAQs about Solar Site Surveys
- Efficiently Conduct Solar Site Surveys with a Checklist
- Related Solar Site Survey Checklists
Importance & Benefits
Solar power has become increasingly popular as businesses seek cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources. But before making the switch, it’s important to know if your area is conducive to solar power. This is where site surveys come into the picture.
In a nutshell, a solar site survey assesses a particular location to determine its feasibility for solar installation. It examines the potential energy output of the site based on several factors and identifies potential obstructions that may impact the performance of the solar panels.
Using a checklist is incredibly helpful when conducting site surveys. For one, it streamlines the survey process for installers since the list of items to evaluate is readily available to them. Not only does this speed up the process, but it also ensures that no item is missed.
In turn, a comprehensive site survey leads to better outcomes for the solar installation process. After all, the survey imparts valuable insights into the optimal location for setting up these solar facilities for maximum energy output. By having a solid grasp of the site’s characteristics, solar installers can readily prepare the site and carry out the process in an efficient, cost-effective, and safe manner.
When creating a solar site survey checklist, it’s essential to include the following sections:
- Site information – Start your survey by providing a general overview of the location where solar panels are to be installed. Details such as the building name, type, and person(s) in charge are a great place to start.
- Roof information – After scouting the location, the next step is to examine the roof of the building or site. Specify its type, construction, measurements, slope, orientation, level of shading, and other relevant information.
- Main AC connection point – Next, locate the main electrical power supply in the site or building. Take note of its phase type and fuse rating.
- Inverter location and fixing details – Then, identify where the inverters are located and describe their characteristics.
- Remote monitoring – Determine the monitoring system to be established once the solar power is installed, including its network type and location.
- Assessment – Lastly, answer a series of questions to evaluate if the site is capable of handling solar power. Aside from the roof’s structure, it’s also important to check other criteria, such as sunlight exposure, zoning regulations, and electrical consumption.
How to Conduct a Solar Site Survey Using a Checklist
As mentioned earlier, solar site surveys become more efficient with the help of a checklist. Here is a step-by-step guide on using this helpful tool when performing site surveys for solar panels:
- Perform a preliminary site assessment – Begin by taking note of the location and orientation of the property, along with the potential sunlight blockers around the area.
- Collect energy consumption data – Next, identify the amount of energy occupants consume on a daily basis and the peak hours of energy use. This information helps determine the size and number of solar panels needed to meet energy demands.
- Gather information using digital tools – Digital checklists allow you to efficiently note your observations using your mobile device, take photos of the site for reference, and store completed forms in a secure location for future use. The image below shows an example of a solar site survey report that’s generated using an online platform:
- Analyze your findings – After completing the survey, the final step is to make sense of the data you collected. It involves calculating the potential energy production of the solar panels, installation costs, and potential energy savings over time.
FAQs about Solar Site Surveys
Solar site surveys are usually conducted by solar installation professionals, such as contractors or engineers. These people have extensive experience in evaluating the potential of specific sites for solar power and designing systems that meet the energy needs of buildings.
The duration of a solar site survey may vary depending on the size and complexity of the solar installation. For instance, residential site surveys typically last for a few hours, while commercial locations may take several days and multiple visits to assess.
An ideal site for solar installation is determined by 4 vital factors:
- Land orientation – A flat terrain or south-facing slope is conducive to solar power.
- Flooding risk – Ideally, these are places with low to rare chances of flooding.
- Proximity to power lines – It’s best to choose sites that are close to power grids or transmission lines.
- Obstruction or shading – Sites with fewer obstructions (e.g., trees, buildings) can better harness the power of the sun.
Efficiently Conduct Solar Site Surveys with a Checklist
Before setting up solar panels or PV systems, the installation site should be surveyed to see if it’s feasible for solar energy. Given the wide range of factors to consider, it’s no surprise that site surveys can take hours or days to complete, especially when done using the traditional way. A great alternative to this is switching to digital solutions like SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor).
As the world’s leading inspection platform, SafetyCulture gives you the power to optimize how you perform solar site surveys. Instead of manually writing information on a piece of paper, you can capture information from your mobile device using smart checklists. Customize any of the checklist offerings from the Public Library, convert paper forms into digital templates, or create your own from scratch.
Aside from this, SafetyCulture can help you:
- Standardize solar site surveys across the organization using industry-based templates
- Take photos and videos of the building, roof, and other essential areas around the site
- Geotag the location and collect other site details even when the signal gets lost and have your data synced once the Internet connection is restored
- Note your observations during site surveys and report issues as soon as you spot them
- Automatically send critical alerts to supervisors or managers when working alone
- Proactively respond to problems on-site through corrective action items
- Train employees on properly conducting solar site surveys
Related Solar Site Survey Checklists
Solar PV Initial Site Survey Checklist
This site survey checklist allows you to collect all relevant information for installing commercial rooftop solar PV systems. Use this site survey checklist to capture photos of the premises, examine the primary installation site, and specify requirements for construction before it begins.
Solar Site Survey - Pre-Installation
Use this free solar site survey checklist to assess site hazards, inspect the roofing system, and check the property’s overall condition prior to the installation process. This checklist by Solar Installation Services (SIS) also lets you determine potential safety and structural hurdles before setting up the solar PV system.
Energy Audit Checklist
Use this general energy audit checklist to evaluate the energy efficiency of a building or facility based on its appliances, equipment, design, and usage. With this tool, certified energy auditors can trace energy consumption patterns and identify opportunities for energy cost reduction.