Development and application of an urban solar photovoltaic opportunity mapping tool

R. McGhee, J.A. Clarke, K. Svehla

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A Geospatial Opportunity Mapping (GOMap) tool was created to identify policy unconstrained land in urban cities that is technically feasible for the deployment of solar photovoltaic power stations; and identify buildings with north- or south-facing orientation for the installation of building integrated PV (BIPV). Collaboration with a local Governing authority and a local electricity provider enabled the process to elicit comprehensive policy and technical aspect information respectively that would impact the site selection process. Five policy and four technical aspects are comprised of a total of 36 individual factors displayable by GOMap on a high-resolution city grid with a scoring system implemented to distinguish between factors that encourage or inhibits solar PV deployment. Weightings can be applied, and different scenarios explored including alternative policy changes and infrastructure upgrades. GOMap generates opportunity maps in the form of available land estimates which can be extrapolated by an in-built solar PV model to quantify annual energy generation based on local weather data, array spacing, panel type and array tilt angle. Three scenarios were devised to identify unconstrained land for solar PV deployment with varying levels of policy and technical factor relaxation, and a fourth scenario to identify dwellings for potential BIPV. These scenarios aim to tackle Glasgow City's growing energy demand and fuel poverty issue, the latter of which can supply energy to dwellings categorised as ‘hard-to-heat’ once heating is electrified due to the Scottish Government's Energy Strategy commitment.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32123
Number of pages16
Issue number11
Early online date1 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2024


  • solar PV
  • urban opportunity mapping
  • policy/technical rating
  • site suitability
  • QGIS


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