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Award-winning Solar Dream Team Conducts Statewide Solar Suitability Analysis

The Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis project maps solar potential across the state using LiDAR data and geospatial technology.
September 29, 2015

Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis app developed by the Solar Dream Team

Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis app developed by the Solar Dream Team
Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis app developed by the Solar Dream Team.

The Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis is an ongoing project led by graduate students in the Master of Geographic Information Science (MGIS) program at the University of Minnesota. This award-winning project maps solar potential across Minnesota using LiDAR data and GIS technology. The map is useful to solar installers and homeowners in evaluating their rooftop for solar panel installation. In 2014, a web application developed by this group won first place in ESRI’s Climate Resilience App Challenge

This group, also known as the Solar Dream Team, is advised by Len Kne, MGIS Faculty member and Associate Director of U-Spatial. The group collaborated with a number of partners including the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. All of the data, methodology, and applications are freely available. In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Commerce provided $89,000 to refine the application. The data and web map will be moved to the Commerce website and remain free to use. 

Visit the Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis web site for more details on this collaborative research project including the app, products and data, media coverage and more.  The work by these students has been featured in a number of media outlets including the Star Tribune and Government Technology magazine.