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Energies 2016, 9(1), 26; doi:10.3390/en9010026

A Novel Geographical Information Systems Framework to Characterize Photovoltaic Deployment in the UK: Initial Evidence

Imperial College Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT), Imperial College London, London SW7 1NA, UK
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Academic Editor: Andrés G. Muñoz
Received: 23 October 2015 / Revised: 6 December 2015 / Accepted: 23 December 2015 / Published: 5 January 2016
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Abstract

Globally, deployment of grid-connected photovoltaics (PV) has increased dramatically in recent years. The UK has seen rapid uptake reaching over 500,000 installations totalling 2.8 GWp by 2013. PV can be installed in different market segments (domestic rooftop, non-domestic rooftop and ground-mounted “solar-farms”) covering a broad range of system sizes in a high number of locations. It is important to gain detailed understanding of what grid-connected PV deployment looks like (e.g., how it deployed across different geographic areas and market segments), and identify the major drivers behind it. This paper answers these questions by developing a novel geographical information systems (GIS)-framework—the United Kingdom Photovoltaics Database (UKPVD)—to analyze temporal and spatial PV deployment trends at high resolution across all market segments. Results show how PV deployment changed over time with the evolution of governmental PV policy support. Then spatial trends as function of local irradiation, rurality (as a proxy of building and population density) and building footprint (as a proxy for roof-area) are analyzed. We find in all market segments, PV deployment is strongly correlated with the level of policy support. Furthermore, all markets show a preference to deploy in rural areas and those with higher irradiation. Finally, local clustering of PV in all market segments was observed, revealing that PV is not spread evenly across areas. This work reveals the complex nature of PV deployment, both spatially and by market segment, reinforcing the need capture this through mapping. View Full-Text
Keywords: photovoltaics (PV); distributed generation; geographical information systems (GIS); renewable energy policy photovoltaics (PV); distributed generation; geographical information systems (GIS); renewable energy policy
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Westacott, P.; Candelise, C. A Novel Geographical Information Systems Framework to Characterize Photovoltaic Deployment in the UK: Initial Evidence. Energies 2016, 9, 26.

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