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April 08, 2014

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UVic and City Hall partner on solar energy mapping

The City of Victoria and the University of Victoria are teaming up to develop a solar energy map, to help indicate how much solar energy could be captured from rooftops in Victoria. Part of this work involves installing a “pyranometer”, an instrument that measures solar energy, on the roof of City Hall.

Solar energy is a renewable resource that can displace fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases from buildings account for 50% of the total emissions generated in Victoria. The City of Victoria is working towards a community greenhouse gas reduction target of 33% from 2007 levels by 2020.

The information collected at City Hall, along with data from the University of Victoria’s School Based Weather Network, will help property owners better assess the solar potential of their properties. The data will be integrated into VicMap, the City of Victoria’s online map.

When complete, residents will be able to use the solar map to zoom in to a rooftop, view the solar energy potential and identify the specific area of the roof that might be best suited for solar equipment. Along with the solar data, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data will be used to provide information about rooftop slope and aspect, as well as shading effects from nearby buildings and trees. When complete, the map layer will assist solar contractors and property owners to make informed solar investment decisions.

This research is being conducted through a partnership between the City of Victoria, the University of Victoria and a research grant from the Federal Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. The City of Victoria is contributing $9,000, which represents one third of the funding for this project.

In 2012, as the University of Victoria celebrated its 50th anniversary and the City of Victoria celebrated its 150th, the tradition of collaboration between the two organizations was formalized with a Protocol of Cooperation. Sustainability, stormwater management and climate action were three areas highlighted for collaboration. The City of Victoria and the University of Victoria are also currently collaborating on rain garden research.

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For UVic-related questions: Anne MacLaurin (Social Sciences Communications) at 250-217-4259 or email sosccomm@uvic.ca



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