PR -- The San Francisco Solar Map, created by the City and County of San Francisco and CH2M HILL, has been awarded an Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) 2008 Innovation Award.
IREC is a non-profit organization that accelerates the sustainable utilization of renewable energy sources and focuses on issues impacting renewable energy use. Each year the award is given to organizations that implemented innovative projects during the past year that promote and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies.
CH2M HILL's IT Consulting and Spatial Information Management practices worked with the city of San Francisco to develop the Solar Map. CH2M HILL's solar mapping solutions combine aerial imagery with advanced 3-D modeling, allowing entire cities to be viewed rooftop by rooftop. The resulting solar map is then made available for public access and viewing through a Web portal for citizens, businesses and government.
According to Johanna Partin, renewable energy program manager for the San Francisco Department of the Environment, "CH2M HILL's solar mapping solution will help the City and County of San Francisco reach its goal of 10,000 solar roofs by 2012. This would give the city an annual savings of more than $7 million in energy costs and an annual carbon savings of almost 46,000,000 pounds -- the equivalent of taking more than 3,500 vehicles off the road. We are pleased IREC recognized the innovation of this project; it's certainly one that will have a measurable impact on San Francisco's transition to alternative energy in the years ahead."
According to Steph Stoppenhagen, client solutions manager at CH2M HILL's Enterprise Management Solutions, "San Francisco took a leadership position in the acceleration of alternative energy and we are excited that this work was recognized by IREC. City leaders such as these will serve as a positive example to other cities looking to increase the adoption of solar energy."
In the case of San Francisco, the CH2M HILL solar mapping Web portal estimates the solar energy potential for commercial and residential structures in the city, and allows building owners to visualize the potential environmental benefits and monetary savings that would result from installing solar energy panels on their property. For residents and building owners in San Francisco it is as easy as entering an address and being brought quickly to a map view of the location. By clicking on the image of the building, residents are then provided with the following information:
- The estimated amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy that could be installed on the roof
- The estimated amount of solar PV energy that could be generated at that site
- Potential electricity cost reduction resulting from the solar PV installation
- Potential carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas reduction as a result of installing a solar PV system
- Case studies of other San Francisco businesses and homeowners who have already installed solar PV systems
- Information on installing a solar PV system, including contact information for local solar installers
Unlike other solar mapping solutions, CH2M HILL's Solar Portals utilize the company's proprietary Solar Automated Feature Extraction (S.A.F.E.(TM)) a patent-pending technology, which accurately reflects elements such as rooftop structure (including air conditioning units and ducting), the azimuth or direction of the sun, shadows cast by other structures, and the slant of the roof. This not only increases accuracy, it speeds mapping and reduces the need for costly on-site assessments.