Introduction To The Solar Profile
Every property has a Solar Profile. A Solar Profile is the quantification of the economic and environmental benefits of the energy produced by solar panels installed on the site. We determine these benefits through the following computationally intensive processes:
- Place virtual solar panels in a 3D world derived from LiDAR (measurements from lasers mounted on fixed-wing aircraft)
- Run a full simulation of the sunlight intensity on each square meter of rooftop surface area, based on typical weather, shadows (near and far horizon), slope and orientation
- Draw a polygon representing the buildable area by delineating the contiguous pixels with sufficient sunlight
- Fit panels into the polygon to produce a default system size
- Compute the energy production for the life of the panels, based on sunlight, efficiency and performance degradation
- Determine the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) based on the installed cash price of the system
- Calculate the avoided grid electricity costs based on the energy usage (load profile), utility rates, statewide energy inflation rates and applicable incentives
- Determine the amount of carbon equivalent emissions avoided through solar energy generation based on the regional grid
In some cases, LiDAR is not available, so our information is derived from Digital Surface Models (DSMs) that have been produced from stereo imagery, as well as four-band imagery that helps to classify vegetation and impermeable surfaces so we can avoid trees and place panels on rooftops. These are not as precise as LiDAR measurements. When there is no 3D data available, the information for the record is based on a 10 kilometer grid, and all the properties within that grid will have the same information. The data related to these interpolated sites are less reliable than the stereo-imagery based DSMs or the LiDAR-based DSMs, but they are still useful for initial calculations.
The result of this simulation is an instant property-level solar model that will be refined through the following successive stages:
- Estimate. By interacting with the model to change the system size, installed cost per Watt, intensity of sunlight, or other factors, you can refine the estimated benefits of installing solar panels. The simulation can apply various financing plans, such as leases, loans and PPAs at different rates and terms to understand the relative benefits.
- Design. Once a system design if complete, data on equipment elements such as solar panels, inverters and racking will be added to the Solar Profile. These will be applied to further refine the solar benefits, based on both the costs and performance. The designed components can be discovered once the Solar Profile has reached this stage.
- Install. When the Solar Profile is in the installation stage, data related to the contractor that will be installing the solar panels is added to the Solar Profile.
- Generation. Once the installation is complete, and the solar energy system is generating electricity, the Solar Profile can be queried for historical system performance as well as installed equipment, the installer, the installed cost per Watt, commission date and other factors.
The result is a platform with valuable data for the full lifecycle of solar projects that can be accessed through an API for new, unique solar applications in such fields as solar finance, sales and marketing, ratings, securities, installation, permitting, incentives development, real estate and emissions reduction. If it involves solar energy, Geostellar has the data and interfaces you’ll need for your program.
We look forward to seeing what you create!