PV adoption in response to Feed in Tariff : a video visualisation across time and space

I have decided to post a little visualisation of an element of my research here. As part of parameterising a model on technology adoption in the Smart Grid, I have analysed the uptake of technology in response to the Feed in Tariff in the UK. For those who don’t know, the Feed in Tariff is a scheme which pays those who have installed microgeneration a premium for every kWh that their generator produces. This is paid whether the electricity is consumed locally or exported to the grid. There is a small premium (currently 4.5 p/kWh – originally just over 3p/kWh) for electricity exported to the grid.

I have looked particularly at PV systems adopted in the domestic context (i.e. households deciding to purchase their own solar panels). The pattern of adoption varies both geographically and over time. I produced the little visualisation below to show this. The video shows number of adoptions per postcode district (e.g. LE2, DE4 etc) over time, with a snapshot taken every week and each second on the video corresponding to 5 weeks. The visualisation starts at 1st April 2010 – the date when the Feed in Tariff was introduced.

Things to notice are

  1. The scale is basically logarithmic – so colour changes at the low end are for one or two installations, whereas at the top end a single colour is used for areas with between 500 and 1000 installations.
  2. There has been a huge increase in domestic PV ownership during the time that the Feed in Tariff has been in force.
  3. There are notable “jumps” at certain times in the simulation. These correspond to political events – on which subject more in a future post. They are connected with controversy about the feed in tariff levels.
  4. Big cities tend to remain at very low adoption numbers. This may be a problem if we want microgeneration to offset local demand, as cities also tend to be places of high consumption. On the other hand – microgeneration even at these levels is still well below consumption of even a single house – so as it stands most generation will offset demand locally.

Apologies for the poor quality video – I have a nicer mp4 for anyone interested, but could not embed it locally – resulting in the use of the YouTube that you see above.

Anyway – I think this is a nice visualisation of the data on microgeneration adoption. Unfortunately you can’t embed a video in a thesis – so here it is for the world to share 🙂

I intend to look at capacity and density in the not-too-distant future, as well as posting on any differences found if the geographic scaled is changed (e.g. looking at smaller, or larger, geographic units. As always – comments welcome – especially if you think there are things that I could improve to communicate the data in the video more clearly.

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