Presentation Title

Analysis of Solar Potential in British Columbia: A Geospatial Reference to the Province’s Hotspots for Solar Generation

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Abstract

In today’s economy, energy generation has moved to the forefront of technological and environmental innovation with a growing shift towards renewable energy. Further investigation suggests that solar power generation is one of the most promising forms of renewable energy, compared to hydroelectric generation, as it is not as restricted by land or water. This project analyzes the viability of solar energy as a renewable resource within British Columbia (BC). By compiling spatial data of BC, we isolated variables of slope, elevation, solar azimuth and the resulting hillshade effect. Using Esri ArcGIS mapping software, we compiled this data onto a digital elevation model of a 1 metre resolution, to represent areas of the province that receive the greatest degree of incoming solar radiation, for the peak periods of each season. This data was then averaged out over the year, and visually represented through regional boundaries to better highlight areas of concentration. The preliminary results suggested that almost all of the province receives high amounts of solar radiation during most of the year, making a large proportion of the province suitable for solar power generation. When controlling for variables to highlight the best places to build solar panels, such as specified slope angles, we saw a slight reduction in viable area; however, not enough to cause any statistical significance. This resulted in the main conclusion that BC has a high geographical potential for solar power generation, and should be further explored by industry and government as an alternative, renewable source of energy.

Department

Geography and Environmental Studies

Faculty Advisor

David Hill

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Analysis of Solar Potential in British Columbia: A Geospatial Reference to the Province’s Hotspots for Solar Generation

In today’s economy, energy generation has moved to the forefront of technological and environmental innovation with a growing shift towards renewable energy. Further investigation suggests that solar power generation is one of the most promising forms of renewable energy, compared to hydroelectric generation, as it is not as restricted by land or water. This project analyzes the viability of solar energy as a renewable resource within British Columbia (BC). By compiling spatial data of BC, we isolated variables of slope, elevation, solar azimuth and the resulting hillshade effect. Using Esri ArcGIS mapping software, we compiled this data onto a digital elevation model of a 1 metre resolution, to represent areas of the province that receive the greatest degree of incoming solar radiation, for the peak periods of each season. This data was then averaged out over the year, and visually represented through regional boundaries to better highlight areas of concentration. The preliminary results suggested that almost all of the province receives high amounts of solar radiation during most of the year, making a large proportion of the province suitable for solar power generation. When controlling for variables to highlight the best places to build solar panels, such as specified slope angles, we saw a slight reduction in viable area; however, not enough to cause any statistical significance. This resulted in the main conclusion that BC has a high geographical potential for solar power generation, and should be further explored by industry and government as an alternative, renewable source of energy.