The potential costs and benefits of solar energy in the UK will be explored by academics at Loughborough University.

Dubbed the ‘PV2025’ project, researchers will work to understand how solar PV generation in the UK varies across regions as well as what environmental conditions can affect output. In addition, the project aims to look at what infrastructure will be required to accommodate the predicted increase in UK solar-generated electricity on the grid.  

The university has partnered with aerial mapping company Bluesky for the million pound PV2025 research project which will last for three years. Funding for PV2025 has been provided by EPSRC, the UK’s main agency for supporting university research in engineering and physical sciences.

Dr Paul Rowley, senior lecturer in renewable energy systems at Loughborough University noted that the project’s partnership with Bluesky would be key to its success, he said: “We are delighted to be supporting this significant national project that will improve understanding of solar energy in the UK. Working with Bluesky will be critical as they have access to nationwide geographical datasets that are essential to some of the work packages included within this project, they also have the knowledge and proficiency to apply them for maximum gain.”

James Eddy, technical director of Bluesky International added: “Over an eighteen month period we assessed the solar potential of more than half a million properties working with energy companies, local authorities, housing associations as well as property owners and solar panel installers. We developed a unique method of generating solar potential maps using photogrammetric techniques to accurately measure and record factors that may contribute to the suitability for solar power and it is this expertise that we are bringing to the PV2025 project.”

The PV2025 project is split into four work packages, which include work on assessing how fuel poverty can be alleviated using PV installations.

Professor Ralph Gottschalg, Dr Paul Rowley and Dr Tom Betts at Loughborough University’s Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST), will work alongside academics from Imperial College London on the project.

Tools developed from the solar PV research project will be made available for public use.