US companies GeoEye and Geostellar have come together to catalogue the solar power potential of every commercial and residential property in the United States. GeoEye will supply the satellite mapping and surface models, while Geostellar will interpret the data into solar energy potential.
Geostellar has an analytics platform that automatically works out how quickly a property owner can recoup an investment in solar power generation. The model uses various aspects of a building, including roof slope, shadows, weather patterns, local utility rates and solar energy subsidies, to assess solar potential and payback. The company has already built solar maps for Washington D.C., Boston, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New Jersey, using aerial imagery made available by government agencies. But to expand the process across the US the company needed a partner to help collect and process the massive amounts of Earth imagery needed.
GeoEye started out as a high-resolution satellite imagery company, but now collects, processes and analyses massive amounts of geospatial data. GeoEye will be Geostellar's Earth imagery vendor, providing the data required to develop solar maps for every main metropolitan market in the US. GeoEye intends to take a small equity stake in Geostellar as part of the agreement.
A great idea. It sounds like a grander and more sophisticated version of the plans by aerial mapping company Bluesky, in the UK. The company is researching the development of a web-based renewable energy rating platform, using geographic data to assess how suitable individual buildings are for energy generation. 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.
Given that Bluesky is working with a number of other industry and academic organisations across Europe on the project (see more details here) perhaps they should also be speaking to GeoEye/Geostellar.