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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

New EAGLE Platform designed for solar energy suitability

January 22nd, 2015 by Susan Smith

According to UK-based Bluesky, a prototype version of a website online platform has been launched that allows homeowners, solar installers and manufacturers, energy companies and government organizations to assess the suitability of individual properties for solar energy technology.


The online system employs high resolution geographic data, such as aerial photography and LiDAR, as well as address records to accurately identify and assess a building’s suitability. This information is combined with details of actual energy tariffs, expected consumption, cost of installation and available subsidies to calculate the potential return on investment for solar renewable energy systems. The result of a three-year, 2.4 million euro EC funded research project – the EAGLE Platform – is now demonstrated at

The title of the research project is “Development and demonstration of a dynamic, web based, renewable energy rating platform” and is funded by the Commission of the European Communities under Framework Programme 7. Framework Programmes (for Research and Technological Development) are funding programmes created by the European Union to support and encourage research. The total fund awarded is 2.4 million Euros commencing from the project start date of 1st November 2011.


“The EAGLE Platform achieves three specific goals,” commented James Eddy, Technical Coordinator for the EAGLE Project and Director of UK aerial mapping company Bluesky. “It provides easy to understand, objective yet accurate information about Renewable Energy Systems for a specific dwelling or building. This allows for the calculation of return on investment for any given scenario as well as potentially reduced installation costs. In turn this information can be used to target consumers with information and educational campaigns.”

In my interview with James Eddy we talked about the research project and the EAGLE platform.

GISCafe Voice: Will the platform also include building information modeling data?

Eddy: No, it is just for assessment of roof for solar potential

GISCafe Voice: It sounds like it is leaning toward more of a sustainable building or city focus, can you expand on that for me?

Eddy: It is a web-based system that analyses any given individual property for its solar suitability using geo data (either LiDAR or stereo aerial photography). It is also designed to analyze entire cities as well.  The system looks for roofs that are flat, inclined surfaces facing southwards. It then works out the usable area and average solar irradiation.  As we are working in a 3D environment it also brings shading into account, objectively rather than subjectively.

GISCafe Voice: Will it be an online portal accessible to just about everybody or to a select few?

Eddy: Anyone would be able to access it.  There are four intended user groups – individuals, installers, power companies and government.

GISCafe Voice: How easy to use will it be? 

Eddy: The basic version is very easy – just enter an address.  The installer version is more difficult as they can enter information on all their panels and also about their offices (if they are national)

GISCafe Voice: What types of data sets will you be including in the platform – asset management data, lidar, BIM, point clouds, etc?

Eddy: LiDAR (point clouds), aerial photo (converted to point clouds), mapping, address data, Solar data, Feed-in-tariff data.  Also user defined data (e.g. info on panels)

GISCafe Voice: How will it differ from other products/platforms on the market that will analyze ROI and costs involved in developing solar energy building types? 

Eddy: This is the only system to use full 3D data, so accurately give a roof slope, aspect and area.  It also takes shading into account, as a percentage over the year (in most systems the user guesses)

The research project initially focused on the exploitation of geographic data, such as aerial photography and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), for the automatic extraction of information relating to the suitability of a property for renewable energy generation. The second element of the project, now live, was to create a web based portal to deliver this information to energy companies, government organisations, installers and individuals, providing unbiased information for selected small areas.

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Categories: asset management, Big Data, climate change, cloud, geospatial, GIS, LBS, lidar, resilient cities, sensors

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