UK-based aerial mapping company Bluesky has won a €2.4m grant to fund research into the development of a web-based renewable energy rating platform. The idea is to use geographic data to assess how suitable individual buildings are for solar energy generation and create a portal to deliver the results online.
Bluesky has made a name for itself by producing thermal maps that local Councils in the UK can use to help address fuel poverty, improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. This research, which goes under the name of “Development and demonstration of a dynamic, web based, renewable energy rating platform” is funded by the European Commission.
The research will initially use geographic data, such as aerial photography and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging – a Radar-like technology) to assess how suitable a property is for producing renewable energy. It will also look at ways that other data can be incorporated. The other aspect of the project is to create a web site that can deliver the results to energy companies, government organisations and others across the EU.
The initially focus is solar generation, but other types of renewable energy generation, such as wind power and ground source heat pumps, are expected to be added.
The company is working with a number of other organisations across Europe on the project, including the Solar Trade Association in the UK, Svensk Solenergi of Sweden, Solar Macedonia, Alemanys Saludes Asociados from Spain as well as the Universities of Leicester, Karlsruhe in Germany and Selcuk in Turkey.
The first question that any householder has when considering energy saving actions is whether their property is suitable for generating renewable energy, and if so, by what method. The stories of inappropriate systems being installed (solar panels on north-facing roofs, etc) abound. So the availability of some online information which could be used by individual property owners is a great idea. (I would certainly pay for an unbiased snapshot of my house’s potential).
It will be interesting to see what data is included and, hence, how detailed and accurate the assessment is. It’s not going to be perfect, but it just needs to fit requirements of usability, affordability and accuracy. Potentially a great Green IT application, and led by a UK company as well!