Domestic solar power companies responding to a UK government subsidy cut are turning to an innovative digital map solution for help.
From April 2012 Feed-in-tariffs for small-scale household installations made after 12 December 2011 will be halved from 43p per kWh to 21p.
As a result, companies have to focus even harder on being efficient in identifying suitable roof space for photovoltaic panels.
emapsite, a leading provider of online digital mapping and location intelligence, has created a hosted, transactional web solution.
It helps companies identify as many eligible roofs as they can, as quickly as they can, and at minimal cost per unit.
Designed to work through a layer of Google Earth, the solution enables users to quickly assess roof criteria such as aspect, size, obstructions, pitch and solar capacity.
It then provides addresses for the relevant properties so that companies can contact householders and manage orders.
Where interest is shown, the solution generates professional-standard annotated site plans for notifying planning authorities.
One of the first customers was Solar2Energy, which aggregates bundles of suitable residential properties on behalf of investment funds.
It has a network of ten installation companies working on around 1,000 properties a month across most of England and Wales.
Solar2Energy Managing Director Caroline Joseph said: “We use emapsite’s hosted solution to help us pin down the properties we have identified through desktop surveys and validate that they are suitable. Once through that process, we also use the solution to put all the documentation together and produce our planning application maps. It’s a very practical tool that gives us instant output. Emapsite makes it very easy for us to offer these partners a consistent, professional presentation.”
Another customer is the leading free energy provider FreeSolar. Rod Hughes, Managing Director, said emapsite’s input is helping his team gain installation contracts with around 2,000 residential properties across the country every month.
He said: “We are working very closely with emapsite on a unique system that identifies and quantifies suitable properties in a semi-automated way using graphic information. It enables us to go in and change views, drilling down into more and more detail. We use the information as part of what we need to do to prequalify jobs. The benefits of our hosted solution are speed, 24-hour access and accuracy of information. We can also develop add-on services for customisation as required.”
James Cutler, emapsite CEO, said: “The cut in Feed-in-Tariffs has led most domestic solar companies to review their business plans and profit forecasts. Many now need to focus even harder on being efficient. The upside is that geospatial technology is well placed to support that renewed drive. Our solution is ideal as users require no specialist GIS knowledge. Since it is hosted, there are also no data storage, content management or licensing worries.”
For more information from emapsite, visit www.emapsite.com.