[Talk-GB] Solar Power mapping update Q2 2020

SK53 sk53.osm at gmail.com
Thu Jul 2 17:56:02 UTC 2020

We passed a couple of milestones a few days ago:

   - 20% of FIT totals
   - 170k individual panels mapped (excluding those in solar farms)

In terms of coverage there are now well over 50 LAs (all in England &
Wales) with more than 50% of solar installations mapped, with around 10
exceeding 80%. Areas with good coverage are:

   - Scottish Central Belt: helped no doubt by more atomic data much of the
   Central Belt is around 20% mapped.
   - North-East (former Tyne & Wear): Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and
   North & South Tyne.
   - North Wales: Conwy, Flint, Denbigh & Wrexham. Most panels in the first
   three are in the coastal resort towns, but reasonable rural coverage.
   - North West: recent activity has been around Preston, Blackburn Wigan
   and Chorley.
   - East Midlands: mainly Leics & Notts. Improved & recent imagery for
   Leicester made a huge difference.
   - West Midlands: Warwickshire, Worcestershire & Herefordshire are
   roughly in the 20-30% zone. ALso extending into the South Wales valleys.
   brianboru's detailed mapping in the latter is another good index of rural
   - South Coast: Bournemouth area & Southampton, all at over 50%

More rural areas continue to be challenging: older imagery which is often
difficult to interpret doesn't help. I've experimented in places where
every building is already mapped by stepping through each building, but
still one may only find 20% of the number in FIT.

London and immediately adjacent areas also have relatively little mapped.
Imagery can be a problem, but also finding panels in older and/or larger
housing with more complex roof shapes is hard.

One thing I'm continually amazed at is how many places have buildings
mapped, which is very helpful for this task. However in a couple of places:
Ribble Valley & Leicester - it is clear that better imagery would allow
existing building outlines to be improved, but also that plenty of
buildings have been extended, demolished or replaced. This type of activity
lends itself to combined work using tools such as Tasking Manager or
MapRoulette and might be worth considering in the future for a quarterly

There's still no shortage of places where a lot of panels can be mapped
quickly, although more systematic mapping of a single LA often requires a
couple of passes over imagery.

Looking forward to achieving the next milestones of 200k & 25%.


Personally, I'm concentrating on areas adjacent to the existing well-mapped
(50%+) areas with the aim of extending these areas.
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