Bengaluru: A first-of-its-kind tool that evaluates which part of one’s rooftop can generate maximum solar energy and identify the best areas for solar power generation is expected to go live on Bangalore Electricity supply Company Ltd (Bescom) website by the month-end.
The web-based tool, based on an aerial survey done using LiDAR(light detection and ranging) technology, has been developed by Bengaluru-based think tank Center for Science Technology, Environment and Policy (CSTEP). Ahead of its roll out, it is being tested in houses at Malleswaram under Bescom’s C2 subdivision, said researchers working on the project.
The tool can be accessed by any consumer with a unique Bescom account ID and will also go live on CSTEP’s website by Jan-end.
“Using the ID, the tool accesses the user’s geographical area, after which the person has to zoom into his house on the given map. The tool then displays the solar profile of the consumer’s rooftop in colour-coded zones ranging from yellow to dark red. Dark red indicates radiation is more in that particular area, while yellow means it’s a good spot to set up a photovoltaic (PV) unit there,” explained Saptak Ghosh, research scientist at CSTEP.
“The tool essentially shows which part of the roof is suitable, based on the colour codes. It then calculates and generates the best system design to set up solar panels. The business returns and power generation details are also calculated by the tool,” Ghosh added.
According to Ghosh, when the tool is officially launched, it will cover an area of 50 to 100 sq km.
Bescom officials, meanwhile, pointed out how the buildings will be ranked based on their solar rooftop potentials, following which highest-ranked buildings in the city, whose cumulative capacity amount to 1GW, will be identified.
“Karnataka is targeting over 6GW of solar capacity addition by 2021-22 with a Rooftop Photo Voltaic (RTPV) component of around 2.3GW, with Becom’s share being 1GW. CSTEP will use the Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) method to rank the buildings. The highest-ranked buildings cumulatively amounting to 1GW will be identified. Bescom can call for large-scale tenders based on this approach. This will bring down the cost of RTPV as well as the tariffs necessary for financial viability,” said Bescom managing director C Shikha.
“Bescom has started the process of tagging consumer premises with their respective IDs,” she added.
If implemented efficiently and on a large scale, the web-based tool developed to evaluate rooftop solar potential could be a game-changer in green energy for the state. Though in a nascent stage, the consumer-centric technology appears promising as it factors in elements such as design, business returns and power generation details to provide a comprehensive picture. The larger goal of ranking Bengaluru’s buildings based on solar rooftop potential can help Bescom reap maximum benefit to support Karnataka’s power needs. With power cuts already making life miserable for people, Karnataka’s solar power capacity needs urgent augmenting.
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