Opportunity mapping for urban scale renewable energy generation

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As part of a project awarded to Glasgow City Council by Innovate UK, a GIS-based Geospatial Opportunity Mapping (GOMap) tool was developed to enable the identification of land throughout the city of Glasgow that is both policy unconstrained and technically feasible in relation to the possible future deployment of Solar Photovoltaic Power Stations (PVPS). To evaluate the suitability of a specific site, two sets of constraints are considered: one addresses the technical aspects that may constrain the economically achievable power capacity; the other addresses the policy aspects that may affect the likelihood of receiving planning permission for an otherwise technically feasible scheme. Overall technical and policy ratings are determined and the outcome displayed on a 10 m × 10 m grid across the city. The output maps allow users to determine the overall suitability of any given site and identify the specific technical or policy aspects that might impede a proposed deployment. Application of GOMap to the city of Glasgow indicated that the potential contribution of deploying PVPS on unconstrained Vacant and Derelict Land is equivalent to the annual heating energy requirement of 21.8% of dwellings in the hard-to-heat category. This finding is significant in relation to the Scottish Government's energy strategy that calls for the electrification of building heating in a manner that alleviates fuel poverty. Alternatively, the generated energy is equivalent to 26.6% of the energy requirement of Glasgow's car fleet if this was converted to electric vehicles. The paper describes the scoring and weighting methods as applied to the policy and technical aspects and their underlying factors, and presents the outcome of an application of GOMap to quantify the PVPS potential for the city of Glasgow. GOMap is made available under an open source licence and is free to download and apply.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-787
Number of pages9
JournalRenewable Energy
Early online date18 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


  • PV power station
  • urban land identification
  • technical policy rating
  • opportunity mapping


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