[Talk-GB] RFC: Solar panel mapping in the UK

Dan S danstowell+osm at gmail.com
Wed Apr 3 16:23:03 UTC 2019

Hi all,

I'd like to propose that for OSM in the UK we have a project to map
solar electricity panels (photovoltaics or "PV").

Why? In brief:

* We can do this! It involves a nice mix of aerial imagery, local
on-the-ground observation, etc; and anyone can do it, in the town and
in the countryside.

* The tagging is already pretty well-defined.

* We have auxiliary sources of information (from UK government
departments) to help us know where to look, to help us estimate
completeness, etc.

* The data will be useful - e.g. to help the National Grid predict how
much solar power they'll receive on any given day (allowing them to
reduce the amount of coal power they burn), or to help select good
locations for new installations. I've been in conversation with people
who would use the data for these things. It's also good mapping in
general - these things are often visible landmarks etc.

* We can visualise our work delightfully using Russ' OpenInfraMap:

There are two parts to this: rooftop solar (there are about 900,000
installations in GB), and large solar farms (there are about 1,000 in
GB). OSM currently has about 13,000 items in GB tagged as

For rooftop solar see info we've compiled here:
For large solar farms, there's this list (from a while ago but quite useful):

We could focus on just one of these or on both. In each case there's
plenty of mapping to do, as well as a bit of cleanup or augmentation
of existing items.

In both cases OSM UK people are already having a look into it and
doing useful mapping, so I'm sure there will be some useful advice
from experience. (See e.g. Jerry's blog, linked from the wiki page

This could be a quarterly project. Currently it's a request for
comments. What do you think?


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