When v2.0 of the solar opportunity tool loads, two elements appear on the screen: a map panel and a filter panel (right side). A custom basemap has been developed using Mapbox which highlights the administrative boundary of Los Angeles County, grays out the service territory of LADWP 1 and restricts reference annotation text elements to only those geographic points of interest most relevant to this project.

Hover your cursor over an image, click to enlarge.
1. LADWP is grayed out because key data inputs about grid distribution circuit capacities were unavailable.

After the solar opportunity map loads, the map is divided into two panels.

  1. A Map Panel
  2. A Filter Panel

Map Panel

Within the map panel there are a series of interactive elements which can be used to explore different sources of geographic information as well as adjust the zoom level or search for geographic locations of interest. These elements are highlighted in the following image.

Filter Panel

Within the filter panel are interactive selection tools that allow users to iteratively apply filters to the layer of eligible sites. The CARTO web map service refers to these tools as "widgets." For our purposes, we refer to them as filters. These filters range from histograms, to categorical identity filters, to binary conditions. The features and suggested patterns of use of these tools are discussed in later sections.

Think of the filters as building blocks. They can be combined to meet the requirements of your site selection. Each "Get Started" example on the Solar Map page gives an example of suggested use for each filter.

Metadata Links

In addition to these map controls and the filter panels the app also has links to important metadata - such as the location of this page, as well as the CCSC CARTO profile. These links are highlighted in the screenshot below.

Available Map Layers

Eligible Sites

Using the layer selection controls, the user can easily toggle on or off different geographic data layers. The primary layer, whose attributes are linked to all of the interactive selection filters, is titled "Eligible Sites" within the layer control panel. This layer corresponds to institutional sites considered eligible for potential selection for the location of a community scale solar PV generation system that could potentially be used as the anchor location for a virtual net metering program. A detailed discussion of how these sites were selected and their corresponding attributes were calculated is provided in the Methods page.

City Boundaries

A boundary layer containing the borders of Los Angeles County's 88 cities as well as unincorporated areas. This layer is included to provide geographic context for the focused search of eligible sites within a particular city or region of interest.

DAC Census Tracts

The DAC Census Tracts is an additional boundary layer displaying the 25% highest scoring census tracts in CalEnviroScreen 3.0. These areas are designated as Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. This is provided as a layer for geographic context in the search for eligible sites.

Electricity Consumption Data

Illustrated in this layer, are estimates of the total annual electricity consumption percapita within each circuit group (kWh/year). These circuit groups reflect the most granular spatial unit at which residential energy consumption data, sourced from the UCLA Energy Atlas, have been aggregated to generate estimates of annual electricity use per capita and per household throughout the region. A circuit group is a collection of census block groups which are associated with the same distribution circuit. Click on a feature to find the total residential usage (kWh/year) for both renter and owner-occupied households.

Housing Attribute Data

This layer plots the percentage of the population that are renters within each Block Group in Los Angeles County. This information provides useful context to the energy consumption per household data described for the circuit groups and can be useful for identifying, at the macro scale, cities or regions that should be focus areas for the exploration of eligible sites. Click on a feature in this layer to find more information on Census Block Groups including total population and more detailed housing statistics.

Distribution Circuit Data

The layer shows the location of distributions circuits displaying their relative 15% penetration capacity (MW-AC). Click on a circuit to see additional information about the districution circuit including existing, queued, and total generation.

Brownfield Sites

Point locations of Brownfield Property sites within Los Angeles County are provided as an additional contextual layer.

EV Charging Stations

Additionally, point locations of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations are provided as a contextual layer. EV Charging Stations displays stations in three categories: public, private and other. Information like charging time availability, network, and pricing is available when a site is clicked on the map.

Using the Map

How to zoom in

Zoom into the map using the + and - controls in the bottom left corner of the tool. As you zoom into the map the count of eligible sites decreases. Zooming in on the map filters the data, which is reflected in the eligible site count, cumulative solar capacity, and histogram filters.

Using a filter

To open a filter, hover your cursor over the three vertical dots and click the green "Toggle Widget" switch. CARTO calls these filters "Widgets." For our purposes, they make more sense to be described as filters.

Think of the different filters on the sidebar as building blocks. They can be combined and explored based on your custom requirements for selecting a site.

Applying color style to eligible sites

Each filter has the option to apply a color style. Color styles are helpful to identify how sites compare to each other with respect to the numeric values available in the histogram filters. Click the water droplet on the left side of any filter and an auto style will be applied to the Eligible Site layer.

Category filter versus histogram filters

Category filters allow you to filter eligible sites based on data-defined categories. For example: city, CPA territory, and circuit name. To use a category filter: open the filter and click on a category OR search for a category, click the check box, and click apply.

Histogram filters show the distribution of a numerical data source across the eligible sites. For example: 15% Penetration Capacity, CalEnviroScreen 3.0 Scores, and Combined Capacity Potential.

How to get more information from layer pop-ups

Pop-up information can be displayed by turning on a map layer and clicking on any feature of interest.

This feature is available for the following layers: Eligible Sites, Electricity Consumption Data, Housing Attribute Data, Distribution Circuit Data, and EV Charging Stations

Description of Filters Available on the Map

City: Filter eligible sites by the City they reside in.

CalEnviroScreen 3.0 Scores: Filter and see the distribution of eligible sites based on the CalEnviroScreen 3.0 percentile of the census tract the site resides in.

CPA Territory: Display eligible sites based on "true" if the site is located within service territory boundaries for the Clean Power Alliance (CPA), and "false" if it is not.

Circuit Name: Display eligible sites based on the distribution circuit name defined by Southern California Edison (SCE) which the site is served by.

Sufficient Circuit Capacity: Display eligible sites based on "true" if the site has sufficient grid circuit capacity to accommodate PV, and "false" if it does not.

15% Penetration Capacity (MW): Filter and see the distribution of eligible sites based on the 15% Penetration Capacity (MW) of the distribution circuit the site is served by.

Combined Capacity Potential (MW): Filter and see the distribution of eligible sites based on the combined total of the low estimate of parking lot generation potential and rooftop solar generation capacity potential (MW).

Local Population Offset: Filter and see the distribution of eligible sites based on the estimate of households within census block group where total electricity usage could be offset by the low estimate combined solar potential.

Local Renter Households Offset: Filter and see the distribution of eligible sites based on the estimate of renter-occupied households within census block group where total electricity usage could be offset by the low estimate combined solar potential.


Filter timed out

Occasionally, if the tool has been open in your browser for an extended period of time, a filter will time out. A refresh button becomes available in the top left corner of the filter. Click refresh to resolve.

No Data Available

When you use a histogram type filter and click on the graph to make a range selection, on the first click before you drag the range selector bars, you might accidentally make a selection that doesn’t include any sites. This will look like all other filters graying out and displaying a message that no data is available.

To solve this, scroll back to the histogram filter you had just clicked. Drag the selector bars on the histogram apart until they are selecting sites.

Refreshing or Clearing filters to start over

To remove all filtering from the map, each filter needs to be cleared separately. For a histogram filter, click "Clear." For a category filter, click 'All' or 'Unlock' depending on if you have clicked a category or searched for a category.