The Solar Opportunity Project
Divya Reddy AnuguOral Defence Date:
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 16:00Location:
Professors Barry Levine and James Wong
Solar power is one of the oldest and widely used renewable sources of energy. With growing emphasis on green and sustainable energy technologies, cities all over San Francisco bay area are looking for new and innovative ways that will help them harness this energy. The SOLAR OPPORTUNITY PROJECT provides city administrators and general populace with tools that will help them access and promote solar opportunities in their communities. The project started as collaboration between the City of Oakland and the Computer Science department at San Francisco State University. The goal of the project is to develop an open source web application that will help users measure the solar energy capacity of a property. Two applications were developed as part of the Solar Opportunity project; the first uses GIS images and is specifically aimed at the City of Oakland, the second uses Google Earth images and can be used by anyone irrespective of their location, to determine the solar capacity of a property. Many SFSU students have contributed to development of the Oakland tool. This culminating experience project includes developing the Google Earth based tool in addition to enhancing some features, bug fixing and documentation of the GIS based tool. The Google Earth based application is a publicly available website that uses Google Earth plugin in a JSP web page. The user can search for and load the image of a property roof and draw polygons (placemarks) to indicate usable and unusable areas. Usable area is the section of the roof that can be used to install solar panels and unusable area describes the section that cannot be used for the purpose. User can also specify the roof pitch and orientation for each segment. The tool calculates the amount of total usable area of the property and allows the user to download the property summary. This open source project also allows for any interested users to customize the tool as per their requirements.