RENEWABLE ENERGY: THE CLEAN FACTS

Wind and sun oriented are controlling a perfect energy transformation. This is what you need to think about renewables and how you can help have an effect at home.
Solar Energy
Solar Energy
Sun powered, or photovoltaic (PV), cells are produced using silicon or different materials that change daylight straightforwardly into power. Disseminated galaxies create power locally for homes and organizations, either through roof boards or local area projects that power whole areas. Sun based ranches can produce power for a large number of homes, utilizing mirrors to think daylight across sections of land of sunlight based cells. Drifting sun based homesteads or "floatovoltaics" can be a successful utilization of wastewater offices and waterways that aren't naturally touchy. Sunlight based supplies somewhat more than 1% of U.S. power age. However, almost 33% of all new creating limit came from sun powered in 2017, second just to petroleum gas. Sun oriented energy frameworks don't create air toxins or ozone depleting substances, and as long as they are dependably sited, most sunlight based boards have not many natural effects past the assembling interaction.
Wind Energy
Wind Energy
We've made considerable progress from older style wind plants. Today, turbines as tall as high rises with turbines almost as wide in measurement prepare for action all throughout the planet. Wind energy turns a turbine's sharp edges, which takes care of an electric generator and produces power. Wind, which represents somewhat more than 6% of U.S. age, has become the least expensive fuel source in numerous pieces of the country. Top breeze power states incorporate California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa, however turbines can be put anyplace with high wind rates like ridges and open fields or even seaward in untamed water.
Hydroelectric Power
Hydroelectric Power
Hydropower is the biggest sustainable power hotspot for power in the United States, however wind energy is before long expected to assume control over the lead. Hydropower depends on water commonly quick water in an enormous waterway or quickly diving water from a high point and converts the power of that water into power by turning a generator's turbine sharp edges. Broadly and globally, huge hydroelectric plants or super dams are frequently viewed as nonrenewable energy. Uber dams redirect and decrease common streams, confining access for creature and human populaces that depend on waterways. Little hydroelectric plants (an introduced limit underneath around 40 megawatts), painstakingly oversaw, don't will in general reason as much natural harm, as they redirect just a negligible portion of stream.
Biomass Energy
Biomass Energy
Biomass is natural material that comes from plants and creatures, and incorporates crops, squander wood, and trees. At the point when biomass is singed, the compound energy is delivered as warmth and can create power with a steam turbine. Biomass is frequently erroneously portrayed as a spotless, inexhaustible fuel and a greener choice to coal and other non-renewable energy sources for creating power. In any case, late science shows that numerous types of biomass particularly from backwoods produce higher fossil fuel byproducts than petroleum derivatives. There are additionally unfortunate results for biodiversity. All things considered, a few types of biomass energy could fill in as a low-carbon alternative under the right conditions. For instance, sawdust and chips from sawmills that would some way or another rapidly deteriorate and discharge carbon can be a low-carbon fuel source.
Geothermal Energy
Geothermal Energy
In the event that you've at any point loose in an underground aquifer, you've utilized geothermal energy. The world's center is probably just about as warm as the sun's surface, because of the sluggish rot of radioactive particles in rocks at the focal point of the planet. Penetrating profound wells carries hot underground water to the surface as an aqueous asset, which is then siphoned through a turbine to make power. Geothermal plants commonly have low emanations on the off chance that they siphon the steam and water they use once more into the supply. There are approaches to make geothermal plants where there are not underground supplies, but rather there are worries that they may build the danger of a seismic tremor in regions previously viewed as topographical problem areas.
Nuclear
Nuclear
Atomic force, the utilization of supported atomic parting to create warmth and power, contributes almost 20% of the power produced in America. The United States has utilized atomic force for over 60 years to create solid, low-carbon energy and to help public protection exercises. The Energy Department's Office of Nuclear Energy's essential mission is to progress atomic force as an asset fit for making significant commitments in gathering our country's energy supply, ecological, and energy security needs. By zeroing in on the improvement of cutting edge atomic advances, NE upholds the Administration's objectives of giving homegrown wellsprings of secure energy, lessening ozone depleting substances, and upgrading public safety. Atomic force stays a significant piece of our country's energy portfolio, as we endeavor to diminish fossil fuel byproducts and address the danger of worldwide environmental change.
Bioenergy
Bioenergy
Biomass is a natural environmentally friendly power source that incorporates materials like farming and timberland buildups, energy yields, and green growth. Researchers and architects at the Energy Department and National Laboratories are discovering new, more productive approaches to change over biomass into biofuels that can replace ordinary fills like gas, diesel, and fly fuel. Bioenergy can help guarantee a monetarily strong and secure future while decreasing natural effects through: 1.Developing moderate homegrown fills and co-items 2. Propelling clean fuel sources 3.Generating homegrown responsibilities to help the development of the U.S. bioeconomy. Innovative work to change inexhaustible carbon and waste assets into feedstocks for transformation to biofuels, bioproducts, and bio power will reasonably grow biomass asset potential in the United States.
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) centers around exploration, advancement, and exhibit of hydrogen and power module advances across various areas empowering development, a solid homegrown economy, and a perfect, evenhanded energy future. Hydrogen is the least difficult and most bountiful component known to man. It is found inside water, petroleum derivatives, and all living matter, yet it seldom exists as a gas on Earth—it should be isolated from different components. There are different homegrown assets that can be utilized to deliver hydrogen, including renewables (wind, sun oriented, hydropower, biomass, and geothermal energy), atomic force, and petroleum products (like flammable gas and coal – with carbon catch and sequestration). The U.S. at present creates in excess of 10 million metric huge loads of hydrogen each year, around one-seventh of the worldwide inventory.

The future of solar site surveys: onsite or remote?

Reading Time: 5 minutes One of the most crucial parts of any solar installation project is the site survey. After your installer makes an initial assessment of your property, they’ll conduct a site survey to obtain detailed information on the condition of your roof, and take measurements to assist the engineers in design. But how exactly do installers get […]

Reading Time: 5 minutes One of the most crucial parts of any solar installation project is the site survey. After your installer makes an initial assessment of your property, they’ll conduct a site survey to obtain detailed information on the condition of your roof, and take measurements to assist the engineers in design. But how exactly do installers get […]Reading Time: 5 minutes

One of the most crucial parts of any solar installation project is the site survey. After your installer makes an initial assessment of your property, they’ll conduct a site survey to obtain detailed information on the condition of your roof, and take measurements to assist the engineers in design. But how exactly do installers get this information? 

In the past, the only option was to climb up on the roof and take measurements by hand. While this is still the most common method, some new remote technologies are beginning to offer compelling advantages that are changing the way site surveys are conducted. In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of each of these methods. 

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Key takeaways


  • Installers need crucial information from a site survey to design your optimal solar system
  • Typically, survey information is collected onsite, with a site surveyor climbing onto the roof to take measurements by hand
  • Remote survey tools like LIDAR and drones are now offering compelling advantages to help installers perform these surveys faster, cheaper, and more accurately
  • Compare the best offerings of installers near you with the EnergySage Marketplace

What information do installers need from site surveys?

Before we examine the different types of site surveys, you’ll need to know what information installers are looking to collect in the first place! This can be broken down into three main categories: physical measurements, roof shading, and roof condition. 

Physical measurements

Physical measurements include a number of important data points, such as available surface area, the angle or tilt of the roof relative to the sun (azimuth), and the presence of any potential obstacles including chimneys, AC units, or water tanks. These pieces of information are all crucial to any solar project, as engineers will need them to design the system, and financiers will need them to calculate system costs. 

Roof shading

Data on shading is also critical, as it can present a major issue in energy production. Depending on the type of solar system and the location of the shading, some studies have indicated that even the shading of one out of 36 cells in a small solar module can reduce power output by over 75 percent. Thus, it’s vitally important that your installer has accurate information on your roof’s shading so they can accommodate these potential issues.

Roof condition

The final component of a site survey is an assessment of your roof. Your installer will need to determine the type of roof you have, the weight it can bear, and its condition to determine if roof work will be necessary to install your solar system safely and effectively. 

How do installers conduct site surveys?

Installers have a number of ways to collect the necessary information from a site survey. We’ll take a look at some of the most common methods, from the completely onsite “on the roof” method, to the completely remote LIDAR technology. 

Traditional “on the roof” method

With this method, a site surveyor will come in person and climb up on the roof of your house. They’ll measure dimensions, inspect roof quality, and will usually record this data by hand on a sheet of paper. Additionally, they’ll likely use a tool called a SunEye, which allows them to assess the available sunlight by day, month, and year by measuring shading patterns. 

The pros of this method are thoroughness and familiarity for the installer. Most installers have been doing this type of site survey for quite some time, and are used to the process. It also allows surveyors to see the highest level of detail on the roof, and physically feel any potential anomalies. 

The cons here are safety, time, and potentially accuracy. Because the surveyors are up on the roof, they are at an increased risk of physical harm, which may be unappealing to both them and you. This process also takes the longest of the three methods mentioned here, with the surveyor needing to spend up to 90 percent more time than the other two methods. Furthermore, accuracy can potentially suffer: although the surveyor has an up-close and in-person view of the roof, inaccurate measurements, poor communication to the engineer, and human error can all cause problems for the project down the line. 

LIDAR method

LIDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and is a remote sensing technology that uses light to measure distances of objects from the Earth’s surface. LIDAR has a number of exciting applications, including self-driving cars, the Mars rover, and now solar site surveys. It works like this: a LIDAR scanner is attached to a plane and emits pulses of light (in the form of a laser) at the ground. It then measures the time it takes for that light to return in order to calculate distance. A shorter time means a taller object, and a longer time indicates a shorter one. 

This data is then used to construct a “point cloud map,” which is a 3D model of a town, city, or neighborhood. Because plane flights are expensive, this process is usually performed on a whole city or town, rather than for individual houses. This data is then provided to the public for solar installers to use in residential projects. Check out Google Project Sunroof to see LIDAR technology in action for yourself! 

The pros of LIDAR are accuracy, time, and cost. A study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) concluded that LIDAR site surveys were within 3.5 percent accuracy of measurements taken by hand. Shading reports are also extremely quick to generate–often taking less than 15 minutes to complete–and can be done completely remotely. These time savings also represent huge cost savings potential: NREL estimates that the integration of LIDAR could reduce industry soft costs by $0.17 per watt. That’s equivalent to half the cost of the average string inverter! Overall, LIDAR allows for faster and cheaper site surveys without meaningful loss of accuracy. 

The downside of LIDAR is availability. As mentioned before, due to the cost of flying, LIDAR scans are usually performed on a city or neighborhood scale. If your area has not yet been mapped, LIDAR data might simply be unavailable to your installer. However, the good news is that with the demonstrated success of this technology, more areas are being mapped all the time. Check out this map to see if your area has been covered. 

Drone method

Drones have become increasingly popular in recent years, moving from recreational use to commercial applications. With regards to solar site surveys, drones offer a compelling mix between remote and onsite options, combining perhaps the best of both worlds. During a drone site survey, a surveyor will come to your house, and, with your permission, fly a drone around your property. The drone will take a series of pictures that will allow for the creation of a 3D model with nearly perfect measurements–more accurate than hand measurements or LIDAR–of key data such as roof angle, shading, and surface area. Check out our article on drones in solar for a complete picture of this fascinating technology. 

There are many upsides here: drone surveys are quick, taking only around 8 minutes for an installer to complete. They’re also safe, with the surveyor piloting the drone safely from the ground. And, crucially, they’re accurate, eliminating the human error in by-hand measurements, and providing higher quality images than LIDAR (because of the close proximity of the camera to the house). These three factors ultimately translate to saving you time and money, making life easier for both you and your installer. 

The downside is that this technology is still relatively new. Most installers still prefer to take measurements by hand–because this is what they’re used to–but, with drone software companies offering training programs to help installers take advantage of this new technology, this is beginning to change.

Site surveys of the future

Although manual, in person site surveys are still the most common, remote options like LIDAR and drones are gaining the attention of more and more installers. As these installers begin to recognize the benefits of the new technologies, they will likely become a bigger part of the site survey process, helping more people go solar with confidence. 

Looking to install a solar system?

If you’re interested in installing a solar system on your property, be sure to check out the EnergySage Marketplace to compare quotes from the top installers in your area. If you’re interested in installers using one or more of these site survey methods, be sure to make a note in your EnergySage profile–even if your installer doesn’t yet offer these methods, you could be the impetus for them adopting a new technology! 

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