Solar and wind energy sites mapped globally for the first time

Researchers at the University of Southampton have mapped the global locations of major renewable energy sites, providing a valuable resource to help assess their potential environmental impact.

Their study, published in the Nature journal Scientific Data, shows where solar and wind farms are based around the world – demonstrating both their infrastructure density in different regions and approximate power output. It is the first ever global, open-access dataset of wind and solar power generating sites.

The estimated share of renewable energy in global electricity generation was more than 26 per cent by the end of 2018 and solar panels and wind turbines are by far the biggest drivers of a rapid increase in renewables. Despite this, until now, little has been known about the geographic spread of wind and solar farms and very little accessible data exists.

Lead researcher and Southampton PhD student Sebastian Dunnett explains: “While global land planners are promising more of the planet’s limited space to wind and solar energy, governments are struggling to maintain geospatial information on the rapid expansion of renewables. Most existing studies use land suitability and socioeconomic data to estimate the geographical spread of such technologies, but we hope our study will provide more robust publicly available data.”

While bringing many environmental benefits, solar and wind energy can also have an adverse effect locally on ecology and wildlife. The researchers hope that by accurately mapping the development of farms they can provide an insight into the footprint of renewable energy on vulnerable ecosystems and help planners assess such effects.

The study authors used data from OpenStreetMap (OSM), an open-access, collaborative global mapping project. They extracted grouped data records tagged ‘solar’ or ‘wind’ and then cross-referenced these with select national datasets in order to get a best estimate of power capacity and create their own maps of solar and wind energy sites.

The data show Europe, North America and East Asia’s dominance of the renewable energy sector, and results correlate extremely well with official independent statistics of the renewable energy capacity of countries.

Study supervisor, Professor Felix Eigenbrod of Geography and Environmental Science at the Southampton comments: “This study represents a real milestone in our understanding of where the global green energy revolution is occurring. It should be an invaluable resource for researchers for years to come, as we have designed it so it can be updated with the latest information at any point to allow for changes in what is a quickly expanding industry.”

Research Report: “Harmonised global datasets of wind and solar farm locations and power”

Related Links
University Of Southampton

All About Solar Energy at SolarDaily.com



Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook – our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don’t have a paywall – with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.


SpaceDaily Contributor

$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal


SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only





SOLAR DAILY
Engineers make a promising material stable enough for use in solar cells

West Lafayette IN (SPX) Apr 30, 2020

Soft and flexible materials called halide perovskites could make solar cells more efficient at significantly less cost, but they’re too unstable to use. A Purdue University-led research team has found a way to make halide perovskites stable enough by inhibiting the ion movement that makes them rapidly degrade, unlocking their use for solar panels as well as electronic devices. The discovery also means that halide perovskites can stack together to form heterostructures that would allow a devi … read more



Search Solar Products Store


Leave a Reply