HyperionSolarNet: Solar Panel Detection from Aerial Images (Papers Track)

Poonam Parhar (UCBerkeley); Ryan Sawasaki (UCBerkeley); Alberto Todeschini (UC Berkeley); Colorado Reed (UC Berkeley); Hossein Vahabi (University California Berkeley); Nathan Nusaputra (UC Berkeley); Felipe Vergara (UC Berkeley)

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With the effects of global climate change impacting the world, collective efforts are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The energy sector is the single largest contributor to climate change and many efforts are focused on reducing dependence on carbon-emitting power plants and moving to renewable energy sources, such as solar power. A comprehensive database of the location of solar panels is important to assist analysts and policymakers in defining strategies for further expansion of solar energy. In this paper we focus on creating a world map of solar panels. We identify locations and total surface area of solar panels within a given geographic area. We use deep learning methods for automated detection of solar panel locations and their surface area using aerial imagery. The framework, which consists of a two-branch model using an image classifier in tandem with a semantic segmentation model, is trained on our created dataset of satellite images. Our work provides an efficient and scalable method for detecting solar panels, achieving an accuracy of 0.96 for classification and an IoU score of 0.82 for segmentation performance.

Recorded Talk (direct link)