Solar Pathfinder measurements were taken on January 13, 2009 by Tad Radzinski and Brendan McGrath of Sustainable Solutions Corporation. The objective of these measurements is to determine the potential efficiency of a photo voltaic solar array at a particular location. With all of the trees on the property, the big question we hope to answer is: how much direct sunlight can we expect at the proposed building site during all four seasons of the year. Since we don’t want to cut down any more trees on the property, do we need to reposition the footprint of the proposed home?
The Solar Pathfinder tool is used to assess solar potential for buildings and sites. The Pathfinder is a translucent glass dome coupled with latitude specific diagrams. The pathfinder assists the user with evaluating potential shading (from trees, buildings etc,) on the proposed solar collector (building roof) throughout the year based on the sun path for each month. The solar professional orients the calibrated pathfinder to true south and then evaluates the possible shading caused by trees, buildings etc. The diagrams are marked up using a wax pencil to indicate potential shading (See photograph below). The diagram contains arcs for each month which enables the analyzer to determine shading throughout the year. The Solar professional utilizes this information to select the best possible location for a solar system. Ideally a solar system should be located in areas with as little shading as possible, typically a site with greater than 80% solar exposure is best.