In a first for a UK local authority, Bristol City Council have awarded Blom UK, and their German partner Sun-Area, the contract to provide a detailed, interactive solar potential map of the entire city. The map will be integrated with their website to allow local property and business owners to find out if their buildings are suitable for solar PV or solar thermal (hot water) panels.
Bristol’s decision to award a solar potential mapping project to Blom UK and Sun-Area follows a Government announcement at the end of 2010, of a grant of £260,000 towards the city’s green plans. The city is one of 30 pioneering councils across the country to receive money to help develop its climate change plans and share best practice with other councils.
As the first council to undertake a solar potential mapping project, Bristol will use the experience gained and any lessons learned to create detailed guidance for other Local Authorities who are interested in undertaking similar schemes. It is hoped that in this way, local authorities up and down the country can encourage property owners to adopt solar panels, saving money and reducing their carbon output.
When announcing the grant last year, Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Local Councils can play a vital role in cutting carbon because they have unrivalled local knowledge, experience and influence. We want to tap in to this, so we have awarded just over £2 million to be shared between 30 pioneering councils to work with individuals, businesses and communities to find the best and most effective ways to reduce emissions and stimulate their local economy. The results of the project will decide what works best so other councils across the country can benefit and learn.”
Blom UK’s solar potential map will provide a detailed analysis of every building in the city, taking into account the orientation, height, pitch and shape of each roof, as well as shading from obstructions including trees, buildings and terrain. The resulting map will provide information on the suitability of each building for the installation of either solar PV or solar thermal panels.
Managing Director of Blom UK Dave Fox said “We are thrilled to be working with our partner Sun-Area on this pioneering project. As the first council in the UK to undertake a citywide solar potential mapping project, Bristol City Council is demonstrating their commitment to reducing carbon across the city, whilst providing residents with a way to find out if they can save money by fitting solar panels.”