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U of M Solar Dream Team wins top national honor for solar suitability app


A team of professionals from the Geographic Information Science Program at the University of Minnesota recently earned a first place national award for its Minnesota Solar Suitability App at the inaugural Esri Climate Resilience App Challenge. The team, dubbed the Solar Dream Team, created an app that displays the solar potential for every spot in Minnesota.

The App features a statewide map of solar insolation and solar photovoltaic (PV) potential with 1 square meter resolution for the entire state. It was created using Lidar data and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. With this App, home and business owners can get a quick indication of the solar potential of their property.

The App complements the strong solar momentum currently in place in Minnesota and will help the state reach the requirement that 1.5 percent of electricity in the state come from solar by 2020. The App does not fully replace solar site assessments, but it may likely motivate many homeowners and businesses in areas with promising solar potential to pursue solar energy projects.

More information is available on the Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis project website. The project was supported by the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), CR Planning, and the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society. Read a CERTs report on this effort.