Bluesky Solar Mapping of Harlow’s Properties

Coalville, Leicestershire, 25 April 2012 – Solar mapping from Bluesky has been used by Kier Harlow, a joint venture company between Kier and Harlow Council, to support an ambitious scheme to install solar panels on Council owned properties in Essex, UK. Aiming to save residents money on their energy bills, provide a valuable income stream for the Council and reduce carbon emissions, the scheme offered free installation for qualifying properties.

Bluesky used the most up-to-date aerial photography, highly accurate 3D computer models and specially developed algorithms to accurately calculate the energy potential of individual roofs. These helped Kier’s energy solutions arm identify those properties with the greatest potential.

The UK Government’s Feed in Tariff originally offered the opportunity for Kier Harlow to generate a substantial income for Harlow Council via ‘roof rent’ fees with Kier recouping the costs of solar panel installation with payments from energy companies for every kilowatt of energy produced. Solar panels would be offered on qualifying properties free of charge and residents would receive savings on their energy bills for up to 25 years.

“The Bluesky Solar Potential assessment allowed us to target properties that would provide the greatest potential return on investment,” commented Paul Slater of Kier’s energy solutions team. “By identifying properties with suitable roofs the cost of installation could be offset by the income generated by the Feed in Tariff. This intelligence was invaluable as it allowed us to make initial assessments and decisions at the desktop saving thousands of pounds on site surveys.”

Bluesky has 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. Bluesky calculates the energy potential using high resolution aerial photography combined with 3D data to determine the size, aspect and gradient of individual properties. The suitability of each roof element is then considered taking into account roof shape and other impediments such as sky lights or dormer windows, as well as potential obstructions such as neighbouring properties or trees.

Bluesky were also able to supply Kier Harlow with performance assessments and potential energy generation rates based on solar panel specifications supplied and location specific solar radiation measurements.

About Bluesky
Bluesky is a UK-based specialist in aerial imaging and remote sensing data collection and processing. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies. Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography, 3D landscape/cityscape visualisations and prints and also runs a national mapping centre, providing digital mapping, satellite imagery and aerial photography including ultra-high resolution imagery of cities and towns. Bluesky is now leading the way developing innovative solutions for environmental applications including the UK’s first nationwide map of solar potential, citywide ‘heat loss’ maps, 3D maps of trees and their proximity to buildings and historical imagery.

About Kier
Kier’s energy solutions business, part of the Kier Group of companies, deals with all aspects of sustainability to produce innovative and creative solutions to address carbon and energy agenda and building efficiency measures. Kier provides advice and support to enhance the efficiency of the built environment. By considering premises and businesses as a whole, assisting with project funding, and designing & evaluating energy solutions, we can increase asset value and reduce carbon emissions.

About Kier Harlow
Kier Harlow is a public private partnership between Harlow Council and Kier Services part of the Kier Group of companies. Established in 2007 the partnership provides repairs & maintenance for social housing and environmental services including street cleansing, landscaping & grounds maintenance, graffiti & fly-tipping removal, and litter clearance.

About the Feed In Tariff
The government supported Feed In Tariff was introduced in 2010 and made it compulsory for energy companies to make regular payments to householders and communities who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources such as solar electricity panels or wind turbines. The scheme guaranteed a minimum payment for all electricity generated by the system – even that used by the generating household – with an additional payment for energy that is not used at the point of generation and is exported to the National Grid. These payments are on top of the saving that the household or community it making by using energy generated on site. Proposed changes to this scheme have caused confusion within the market place and impacted and may potentially impact on future installation projects.