Insight Planet: SolarMap

Submitted on Monday, 26/04/2021

Sunlight is the new oil – well it could be. Researchers collaborating on SolarMap are exploring solar prospecting options in urban areas. Currently almost no electricity is produced in Dublin city and this project uses geospatial and ICT technology to develop solutions to resource this issue. Dr Ankit Verma spoke to The Insight Podcast about his work on this project.

SpolarMap research will use Geospatial and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to identify areas suitable for urban solar farming and to model the spatial extent and efficiency of those farms, firstly in Dublin and subsequently in other urban areas. As Dr Verma explains in the podcast, he is exploring the potential of using building rooftops in Dublin industrial estates for this purpose.

By 2050 the global population is projected to be 9.8 billion and between 70 and 80% will live in cities. This will present challenges for resources. Urban environments use large amounts of electricity, placing significant pressures on these important resources. Climate change and a rising population will increase this demand up to 2050 and beyond. The Irish government has outlined a strategy in mitigation and adaptation to help address the issue of climate change. However, there is an urgent need to examine solar prospecting in urban areas. Currently, almost no electricity is produced in Dublin city despite a large amount of roof space, particularly in the light industrial zones on the edges of the city. This project will focus on the use of geospatial and ICT technologies to develop solutions to this resource issue.

SolarMap is a joint project between the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, ENABLE and the Department of Geography at Trinity College Dublin. SolarMap is kindly supported by the European Regional Development Fund and Science Foundation Ireland. You can access the project website here.