Updated Solar Map Tracks Output From 5500 PV Systems Australia-Wide

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Originally published on RenewEconomy
by Sophie Vorrath

The solar energy output from more than 5500 distributed PV systems across Australia can now be monitored in real time after the launch of an updated solar mapping service by the Australian PV Institute (APVI).

The newly enhanced version of APVI’s Live Solar PV Map – a tool originally developed in the lead-up to the Queensland election to track the contribution of systems in that state – now tracks the output of PV systems across Australia and their contribution to meeting electricity demand in real time.

The map, developed by the University of New South Wales in 2014 with financial backing from ARENA, incorporates live data from individual PV systems, the Clean Energy Regulator, PVOutput.org and now SMA Australia.

This data is combined to estimate the output of all PV systems in different regions of Australia, which is then compared to electricity demand in each state to show the percentage of load being met by PV.

apvi-300x297The extra data also means that the live PV output is mapped by postcode.

“These improvements to the solar map will help increase consumer and electricity sector confidence in solar PV by providing better information on how, when and where the 1.3 million PV systems in Australia are generating emissions-free electricity and reducing demand peaks,” said Dr Anna Bruce from UNSW, the lead researcher behind the map.

“This will not only help to illustrate how householders can reduce electricity bills but also enable better integration of solar PV into the electricity system, which will help to reduce costs for everyone”.

Other new features of the Solar Map include:

– The addition of a Solar PV Status Map, which provides an interactive guide to the location, capacity and annual performance of PV installations across the country. It provides detail on installed capacity, percentage of households with PV, and estimated annual PV production by state, city (local government area) and postcode.


– The addition of a Solar Potential Tool, which allows stakeholders to assess the potential output from PV on urban rooftops. At a city level, insolation maps allow identification of the best roofs, while on a specific roof surface, an estimate of annual electricity generation, financial savings and emissions offset from installing solar PV can be obtained.

The interactive map also uses 3D spatial data to allow users to zoom down to rooftop level and see information about the shading from surounding buildings and trees, the tilt and orientation of roof surfaces and the solar resource available on each surface.

– The addition of Solar Animation, which provides a visualisation of the roll-out of solar across Australia from only 10MW total in 2007 to close to 3.6 GW in mid 2014; and

– Market Analyses and Postcode Data, to keep track of the progress and impact of the technology.

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3 thoughts on “Updated Solar Map Tracks Output From 5500 PV Systems Australia-Wide

  • Solar householders should see it as a civic duty to provide this sort of fine-grained data if asked. It’s a fair counterpart to the subsidies solar has enjoyed, and provides key information for the whole community: grid managers, policymakers, and prospective customers.

    • I do agree that anyone using solar and connected to the grid to balance their usage with their production should have no problem with sharing this information as it is part of their contract with the utility.
      But I wonder if some of the early adopters with inverters that don’t have wifi (or Internet connection) that are under net metering agreements with dual meters (feed in and usage) will be able to participate without expensive equipment upgrades.
      Yes it has become common for systems to include constant monitoring, but that hasn’t always been true. For some to comply with their ‘civic duty’ could mean an upgrade.

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