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Application of Airborne LiDAR Data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Develop a Distributed Generation System for the Town of Normal, IL

1 Department of Technology, Illinois State University, Campus Box 5100, Normal, IL 61790-5100 USA;
2 Department of Geography-Geology, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA

Special Issues: Remote sensing and Geoinformation Technology to Explore and Predict Renewable Energy Potential

Distributed generation allows a variety of small, modular power-generating technologies to be combined with load management and energy storage systems to improve the quality and reliability of our electricity supply. As part of the US Environmental Protection Agency's effort to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plants by 30% by 2030, distributed generation through solar photovoltaic systems provides a viable option for mitigating the negative impacts of centralized fossil fuel plants. This study conducted a detailed analysis to identify the rooftops in a town in Central Illinois that are suitable for distributed generation solar photovoltaic systems with airborn LiDAR data and to quantify their energy generation potential with an energy performance model. By utilizing the available roof space of the 9,718 buildings in the case study area, a total of 39.27 MW solar photovoltaic systems can provide electrical generation of 53,061 MWh annually. The unique methodology utilized for this assessment of a town's solar potential provides an effective way to invest in a more sustainable energy future and ensure economic stability.
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