The City of Bristol has released a new map that will allow residents to estimate whether their house is suitable for solar panels at the click of a button.
The city council has become the first local authority in the country to produce a solar map of this scale. Residents can view the map on the council’s website, which uses colour coding to illustrate an estimate of each buildings potential for solar generation.
By typing in their address, the user will be provided with more detailed information including the estimated system size, electricity generation and associated CO2 savings.
Council Leader Barbara Janke, said: “This is another example of Bristol leading the way on the green agenda. We’re the first local authority to produce a solar map, the first to be building our own wind turbines and the first local authority outside London to be setting up our own energy services company.
“The work we’ve done on the solar map pulls together a full picture of the city’s solar potential. Anyone who lives in Bristol who is thinking about the possibility of installing solar electric or hot water panels can use this map quickly and easily to find out whether it’s going to be viable for them.
“Together with our other ambitious projects, it will help support Bristol’s growing environmental technologies sector providing a boost for jobs.”
Key findings from the map estimate that around a third - approximately 80,000 - of all rooftops in Bristol are suitable for solar generation. If all of these roofs had solar panels installed on them, they would cover an area equivalent to 600 football pitches.
Solar PV could have the potential to generate 384GWh per year of renewable energy, meeting a quarter of the city’s electricity demands thereby reducing Bristol’s CO2 emissions by 10% (based on 2009 figures).
Local installers helped validate the mapping estimates and together with other installers, community energy groups, the council, Bristol University and others interested in solar have recently formed the Bristol Solar Group.
James Lancaster, acting chair of the group, said: "I am very pleased to see that Bristol City Council has produced a solar map for Bristol. Experience from other European cities shows that this can greatly speed up the uptake of installations. Bristol Solar Group is committed to increasing awareness that Bristol and the wider sub region is one of the UK's primary locations for high yield, cost-effective solar energy solutions.
“The group unites our fantastic local technology and installation expertise under one brand, supports existing solar projects and initiatives, helping develop them further wherever possible and helps to create and safeguard local jobs.
“We are helping local businesses and residents understand they have a real choice and this map is a great step forward."
The map can be found alongside guidance on the technology, financial support and planning on the council's website.
The council’s solar map has cost £25,000 to pull together and was funded as part of a grant of £260,000 from the Department of Energy and Climate Change aimed at supporting nine Local Authorities in delivering low-carbon actions at the local level.
The council has set itself and the City an ambitious 40% CO2 reduction target within the Climate Change and Energy Security Framework, and solar PV panels have seen huge popularity in recent months - with over 1,000 installations already helping achieve Bristol’s targets.
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