Monday, September 21, 2015

In the University of Technology in Austin, GIS technology was used to determine the most efficient locations to place solar panels. The technology chosen to do this was LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging. Additionally, reverse topography was used to focus on the man-made structures to place the solar technology. The UT GIS staff wanted to have solar panels on the rooftops of the buildings so the dimensions of the roofs were isolated so that the solar energy potential was focused on the rooftops. Certain buildings, however, were not considered for rooftop panels. These include historically important buildings and buildings that already use their rooftops. Three main maps were used in determining the solar radiation. The first is the viewshed map, which measures the visible sky, the sunmap, which measures the position of the sun across a period of time, and the skymap, which measures the parts of the sky that affect the amount of incoming solar radiation.     

Since $12.25 is the break even point per square meter, UT can afford to spend $122.50 per square meter assuming the cost to install a solar PV is $1.40/Wh. Over the last 30 years the price of solar is ten times less than it was originally. By the year 2020, the price is predicted to be cut in half from the current price.

Sounny-Slitine, M. (n.d.). Potential of Solar Power on the University of Texas Campus.

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