Five years ago, when I decided to study whether Lidar data could be used for rooftop solar capacity modeling, I figured it had huge potential. However, I needed to be patient and wait for the MN Lidar project (LiDAR Information) to apply the method to my community. I was finally able to complete my study last fall and was very encouraged by the results.
Recently, the University of Minnesota completed a state-wide solar capacity model which received the Esri Climate Challenge App award this week. Esri Names Climate Resilience App Challenge Winners
Congrats for all the good work! Check out the team's website for more info. Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis
With all we've done locally in Minnesota, it now appears these capabilities will be available in other parts of the country.
From USA Today July 16, 2014- The U.S. Geological Survey is launching a $13 million 3-D Elevation Program to develop advanced mapping that it says could, among other things, make it quicker to update flood maps and easier to find ideal sites for wind turbines and solar panels. It's relying on lidar (light detection and ranging) technology that uses light from lasers to give the elevation of any spot — from the tree tops to the ground.