(Sorry, Aladdin Solar no longer offers assessments or installation services. Read here to learn what quality solar contractors should be providing)
What is a "Site Assessment?"
A professional site assessment is the important first step in the process of selection, design and installation of an appropriate renewable energy production system for your home or business. The assessment starts with phone or email conversations with you, includes an in-person site visit, and results in the delivery to you of a carefully written report. The report will help you to bring your goals, budget and energy needs together with the unique solar opportunities at your location. Every site is different and needs evaluation specific to the site--there is no "one-size-fits-all solution" when it comes to renewable energy systems.
Who needs a professional Site Assessment?
If you are considering installing a renewable energy system for your home or business, you should have your site evaluated by a professional site assessor before making any commitments. A photovoltaic (electric) or solar thermal (hot water) system can be a significant investment. Don't jump in without accurate information about the solar resources at your site (including shading problems) and realistic predictions of both annual output and payback period.
How long does a Site Assessment take?
Normally, contractors will start with a short phone conversation or discussion by email to get some general information about your goals, your site and your current energy requirements. A site visit by the assessor is arranged for at this time.
The site visit takes one to two hours during which the assessor makes site and usage observations, measurements, maps the "solar window" using a solar shading tool and can further discuss goals and options with you.
Shortly after the site visit you will receive a report/proposal. The report should include a realistic assessment of the solar possibilities, installation costs and detailed benefit analysis. Also, recommendations will be made as to other ways you might reduce your utility usage and costs.
How does Aladdin Solar evaluate my solar possibilities? Is it accurate?
Aladdin Solar uses software created by National Renewable Energy Labs to evaluate the solar resources at your site. The software takes into account historical solar radiation and weather data for your latitude and longitude, as well as the constantly changing sun elevation angle. Digital photos are taken at the site to provide additional data to the software for accurate shade compensation calculations due to trees, etc. Further adjustments are made depending on panel tilt (up and down angle), azimuth (right and left orientation) and whether a tracking system is to be employed. Then, the final production output figure is reduced ("derated") to account for resistance due to wire runs, connections, fuses and breakers; for inefficiencies of the inverter; and, if appropriate, for snow shading.
Sorry, Aladdin Solar no longer is offering site assessments
Our office is in Excelsior, MN. We serve Minneapolis, St. Paul, all of the Twin Cities area (including Blaine, Bloomington, Burnsville, Chanhassen, Chaska, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Lakeville, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Wayzata, and Woodbury) and the southern half of Minnesota.