India: The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) last week chose a Hyderabad-based company for aerial mapping of the city to study its rooftop solar energy generation prospects.
The aerial mapping exercise will use the Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) technology, which is said to be a first in the country. An aircraft will fly over the city, sending pulses of light, which will get reflected back from objects on the ground.
BESCOM has partnered with the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) and Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL) for the project.
The reflected light will be translated into data points by receivers to map buildings, trees, poles and other objects, making consumers aware of how viable their rooftop is for generation of solar energy.
This way, consumers will no longer require the help of a consultant.
“We will only give them the RR numbers of our consumers. The capturing of data, storage device and other processes will be worked out by them. We are looking at a March 2017 deadline for completion of the entire project,” a BESCOM official said.
The data generated is expected to aid the power utility in boosting the quantity of grid-connected solar energy generation, which at present stands at 30 MW from 650 commissioned installations.
The challenges to the ambitious project are funds and coverage.
With a budget of Rs. 3 crore, it is not possible to cover the entire jurisdiction of BESCOM (eight districts). In addition, large tracts of lands belong to defence establishments who will send a supervisor to oversee what can and cannot be mapped.
A Besom official said, “A team is in New Delhi seeking clearances from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of New Renewable Energy. Work will commence once we get the clearances.”