CH2M HILL supports American Planning Association's promotion of solar energy at community level

Solar Map

January 28, 2013 - CH2M HILL is collaborating with the American Planning Association (APA) to promote the use of solar PV in communities throughout the U.S.

Water group Client Service Manager for Sustainability Steph Stoppenhagen/PDX co-authored an article with the APA on the increasing use of solar mapping tools to help a city's residents take advantage of the benefits of solar power. The success of CH2M HILL's solar map led to such related sustainability initiatives as CH2M HILL's Urban Wind Map, Green Energy Dashboard and Smart City tools, whose technologies have been supported by I&AT engineers.

Solar maps are Internet-based tools that help inform users about solar technology by estimating the solar energy potential of building sites or open land and providing information about associated benefits. They also calculate the costs associated with a given installation and maintain a running tally of the environmental benefits solar maps CO2 emissions.

The article explains how solar maps work and how communities can benefit from their use. CH2M HILL is an established leader in this field, having created the first municipal solar map for the City of San Francisco in 2008. The tool's creation included the impressive achievement of mapping every building – more than a half million of them throughout the city.

It also factors in such variables as roof obstructions (air conditioning units, chimneys, vents), azimuth (the direction of the sun), shadowing from other buildings, roof slants, usable roof area for solar panels, the amount of electricity the panels can produce, the electricity cost reduction, and resulting CO2 reduction.

In the two years after San Francisco's map came online, the city saw solar installations grow by 60% and the amount of solar electricity generated in the city doubled. Since then solar energy has produced more than 28,000 megawatts per year for San Francisco, saving $4.5 million in energy costs and nearly 6 million tons of CO2 per year.

Following its San Francisco debut, CH2M HILL's Solar expertise is being used by nearly all of the 19 U.S. communities that now use solar mapping tools.

The APA initiated the article through its participation in the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs), a U.S. Department of Energy-funded initiative to help accelerate solar energy adoption at the community level.

Here's a link to the American Planning Association article.

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