Using Satellite and Aerial Imagery for Identification of Solar PV: State of the Art and Research Opportunities
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is the fastest growing form of energy generation today, and many countries are seeing significant uptake of distributed solar PV on the rooftops of homes and businesses. However, many of these systems are not accurately registered, and central records of distributed solar PV are often not up-to-date. At the same time, high levels of solar PV are introducing challenges for many stakeholders in the energy sector, such as market operators and network operators, who need to forecast total rooftop solar PV generation across entire regions. One possible solution to this problem is to identify existing solar PV generation systems using overhead satellite and aerial imagery. While there have been early promising attempts in this direction, there are nevertheless many important research challenges that remain to be addressed. In this paper we survey the state of the art in this nascent area, describe the challenges that exist, and advocate for novel research questions that are worthy of further exploration. By identifying these areas of interest we aim to generate greater awareness of the potential value of satellite and aerial imagery for identification of solar PV, which will ultimately facilitate large scale uptake of solar PV and other renewable generation technologies.