Satellite imagery identifies south London PV potential

A south London council has identified 40,000 sites as suitable for photovoltaic panels as it works towards a carbon neutral goal in 2030.

Energeo, a specialist provider of data that helps organisations accelerate decarbonisation, has analysed the built environment across the London Borough of Lambeth to enable the council to prioritise its investment in sites for solar PV.

Energeo’s data has given Lambeth Council an accurate visualisation of where it can most effectively deploy solar. Lambeth is one of hundreds of UK councils to have declared a climate emergency.

Energeo assessed almost 100,000 buildings and identified 40,000 sites that are suitable for solar PV. It uses automated techniques to extract detailed information from its data sources and provide clients with intelligence for individual properties concerning roof size and pitch, solar yield, revenue potential, CO2 savings and even listed building status.

The analysis revealed over 1,325,000m2 of unutilised roof area, which is equivalent to 187 football pitches. The net financial benefit over a 20-year lifetime could be as high as £179m based on electricity savings, export revenue and installation costs. Energeo uses bespoke, automated algorithms to interrogate its data sources, which can assess the solar potential of a roof in less than a second.

“To gather this data by manual rooftop surveys would have been expensive and taken many months,” commented Matthew Browning, Sustainability Officer, London Borough of Lambeth. “Energeo delivered a comprehensive analysis within a few weeks, which has given us the ability to make a strong business case for funding and an evidence base – using payback thresholds – for prioritising investment.

“Ian Dee, chief executive, Energeo (pictured), said, “It’s vital that local authorities make sound, strategic investment decisions for their net-zero initiatives and we’re delighted to be helping Lambeth and other councils across the UK. Combining sources such as satellite imagery with digital mapping and other datasets provides granular location information that can help us to choose the best sites for other low carbon technologies such as heat pumps and electric vehicle infrastructure – as well as solar PV.

”Having identified sites with the highest potential for solar PV, Lambeth Council will look at allocating funding for structural surveys at sites it owns and operates and use the data to inform its Citizens’ Assembly.

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