All solar energy developers are aware of the advantages that tools such as Google Earth offer to search suitable sites for the development of solar energy projects.  Here we list several additional databases that any solar energy developer operating in the United States of America (USA) requires. 

Transmission grid. The Global Atlas for Renewable Energy available at the IRENA web presents a worldwide database including information on transmission grid, substation and generators

Solar irradiation data.  The IRENA web also includes data on solar irradiation with a resolution of 3 km.  Other alternatives sources to obtain solar irradiation data in the whole USA territory are NSRDB, NASA-SEE, Meteonorm y Solar Anywhere.

Site property. In the USA, sites can be federal, state or private owned.  Federally owned sites can be identified at FEMP.  The availability of a database for state properties depends on each state, e.g. Arizona.  Site ownership data in USA territory is generally available at the counties' websites, e.g. Maricopa county in Arizona.  In addition, there are other databases that cover the majority of the USA territory such as Parlay or Mytopo.  Contact details of the site owners can be found through websites such as whitepages.

Environmental constraints.  FEMP provides environmental information applicable to sites within USA territory including: environmental constraints, national parks, indian reserves, flora and fauna information, and brownfields.  

Flood riskFEMA is a public database containing flood risk information developed with the support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Economic feasibility analysis.  The economic feasibility of solar projects in the USA can be assessed with the open-source tools PVWatts and SAM.

Tools for solar energy developers in the USA

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