Aerial mapping company Bluesky is supporting a million pound research project into the potential costs and benefits of solar energy in the UK. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), PV2025 aims to answer a number of questions relating to the production of solar energy through photovoltaics across the UK and how geography, legislation and social factors might impact on the costs and benefits to UK Plc. Led by Loughborough University’s Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST), other project partners include Imperial College London, E.ON and SMA Solar UK Ltd.
Dr Paul Rowley, Senior Lecturer in CREST and one of the University investigators on the PV2025 project commented, “Bluesky bring a wealth of experience and expertise to this project having launched the first maps of solar potential back in 2010. Not only do Bluesky have access to nationwide geographical datasets that are essential to some of the work packages included within this project, they also have the knowledge and proficiency to apply them for maximum gain.”
James Eddy, Technical Director of Bluesky International added, “Over an eighteen month period we assessed the solar potential of more than half a million properties working with energy companies, local authorities, housing associations as well as property owners and solar panel installers. We developed a unique method of generating solar potential maps using photogrammetric techniques to accurately measure and record factors that may contribute to the suitability for solar power and it this expertise that are bringing to the PV2025 project.”
PV2025 project considers photovoltaic energy production in the national context looking at how PV system configuration or regional differences in environmental conditions impact upon factors such as energy generation and the infrastructure required to effectively distribute this energy. With the overarching research question ‘How can we maximise the benefits and limit the costs for UK Plc while having a vibrant PV market?’ PV2025 is split into four topical work packages each addressing key aspects of PV in the UK. Effective collaboration between the academic and industry project partners is an important aspect of the project, with tools developed during the project being made available for general use.
The three year PV2025 project is funded by EPSRC, the UK’s main agency for supporting University research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change.
The contribution by Bluesky to the PV2025 project complements the work the company are already undertaking as technical lead for an EC funded renewable energy research project. Known as EAGLE the 2.4 million euro project aims to support thousands of businesses across the region and help them take a world lead in the design, manufacture and installation of Renewable Energy Technologies. Project partners, including Bluesky, will achieve this goal through the development of an intelligent web-based renewable energy platform powered by map based data.