SolarMap: Mapping suitable rooftops for PV installation in commercial and industrial estates using high-resolution geospatial datasets

Ankit Verma, John Connolly, and Noel O'Connor

In line with UN and EU policies, the Irish Government has set a target to generate 70% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 (Climate Action Plan 2019). According to the SEAI "Energy in Ireland 2020" report, 36.5% of electricity demand was met by renewable energy sources in 2019. Wind energy contributes 32%; however, solar energy only contributes 0.07% to total electricity usage. As of 2019, Ireland has the second-lowest total installed and cumulated solar photovoltaic capacity in the EU.


The National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 has a set target of 1.5 GW of grid-scale solar PV capacity by 2030. Photovoltaic technology is rapidly becoming cost-competitive for electricity generation compared with other forms of energy generation. The deployment of solar in Ireland can increase energy security, contribute to renewable energy targets, and support economic growth.


SolarMap identifies suitable building rooftop in industrial and commercial estates for PV installation. Here we present preliminary results from a solar prospecting study in 20 such estates in Dublin, Ireland. 


A very high-resolution geospatial dataset comprising aerial images (12.5 cm/pixel) and digital surface model (DSM) (25 cm/pixel) was acquired. The high-resolution DSMs were used to model solar irradiation in ArcGIS Pro using the area solar analyst tool. These models were optimised for Dublin conditions using Met Éireann solar irradiation data. The maximum solar irradiation in Dublin is 1000-1050 kWh/m2. The results demonstrate an annual electricity generation potential of 367 GWh and carbon emission reduction potential of over 122,469 tCO2 in 20 estates. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Figure showing solar cadastres in one of SolarMap's Area of Interests (AOIs) in Ashbourne. The legend shows the annual PV electricity generation potential.

 

 

Results Summary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to cite: Verma, A., Connolly, J., and O'Connor, N.: SolarMap: Mapping suitable rooftops for PV installation in commercial and industrial estates using high-resolution geospatial datasets, Conference of Irish Geographers 2021, online, 18–21 May 2021. 

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Asbourne Building Electric production ma