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Rooftop Solar Potential of Southwestern University: LiDAR application to Solar Mapping

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    The GIS Lab in Smith Library Center
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    GIS Student presenting at Student Works Symposium
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    GIS model developed for siting of solar photovoltaics on SU rooftops
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    Downtown Houston, Texas in 1944. Historical Aerial Image georeferenced in GIS
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    GIS Student presenting at Student Works Symposium
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    Aerial Imagery of Southwestern University Campus on August 2, 2012
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    Natural Disasters that took place from 2000-2011
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    Aerial image of Lake Georgetown, a reservoir on the north fork of the San Gabriel River
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    Desert dust blows off the west coast of Morocco and over the Canary Islands in Nov. 2006.
    The MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite

Senior environmental studies major Ben Parafina won third place in the student poster competition that was held as part of the annual meeting of the Southwestern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SWAAG) held Nov. 10-11 at UT-Austin.

Solar Potential Study

Parafina did a study using GIS and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to estimate how the use photovoltaics placed on rooftops across campus could potentially provide a significant source of on-site energy. He presented this study in a student poster competition at the annual meeting of the  Southwestern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SWAAG) held Nov. 10-11 at UT-Austin. 

He presented the poster titled  “Rooftop Solar Potential of Southwestern University: LiDAR application to Solar Mapping.”  Southwestern University is one of the highest rated campuses for sustainability according the  College Sustainability Report by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. Thanks to student efforts over 90% of the Universities energy comes from wind power and the school has reduced building energy consumption through energy management systems, building metering, and light sensors. Photovoltaics could potentially further offset Southwestern’s energy usage. Previous studies on campus have studied the effectiveness of single Photovoltaic cells, but not for the entire campus. Widespread use of Photovoltaics across campus could potentially provide a significant source of on- site energy. This study uses LiDAR and GIS to estimate the solar potential of the Southwestern Campus rooftops and aid in development plans for continued sustainability.