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Boosting solar energy capacity of developing countries without compromising protected areas: A tool for the analysis of Satellite-retrieved data and the estimation of surface solar irradiance

Project Description

This studentship will support the delivery of the UK-Indonesia Newton fund 2019-2020 funded project 413871894 (SolarBoost), and the college contribution to the university GCRF Strategy.

During the last five years developing countries such as Indonesia have imported about 200 million barrels of oil for the energy sector, with a cost of approximately £8.8 billions per year, putting a severe burden on the national budget and threatening their national energy security with compulsory power outages for under-developed communities. High levels of solar irradiance could be harnessed for solving this dramatic situation. However, the solar power sector in Indonesia is severely underdeveloped, representing less than 80 MW of installed capacity in 2016 (PWC report, Power in Indonesia, Nov. 2016), opening a new market where adequate tools for site planning and policy making are virtually inexistent. Thus, in a first instance, using Indonesia as a study case, this project aims to support the country's capacity for maintaining and managing its biodiversity, setting land routes and policies for the deployment, integration, and optimal use of solar energy, without the deforestation or invasion of land protected areas which cover around 18% Indonesia's landmass. The success of this project encloses the following objectives:

• Developing of a GIS package enabling integration of satellite retrieved data with Indonesian local information of demography, infrastructure, electric network, and land usage.
• Coding of data mining and image processing algorithms for analysis, visualization, and integration of local resources of information at Indonesia. Direct contrast of SSI maps and local cartographic plans, including biodiversity and socio-cultural protected areas are placed in a fore.
• Informing beneficiaries and stakeholders over the existence and potential uses of our GIS for solving the energy problem of Indonesia.
• Preparation of the first web-oriented GIS mapping tools for solar farms deployment and energy policy-making, with consideration of Indonesian factors such as protected areas and other industrialization barriers. A pre-feasibility report for the deployment of PV plants at West Kalimantan will be targeted as the GIS demo.

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject. The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.

How to apply

The online application and supporting documents are due by Monday 21st January 2019.

Any applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted for the studentship scheme.

References should arrive no later than Monday 28th January 2019.

Applicants are advised to apply well in advance of the deadline, so that we can let you know if anything is missing from your application.

Required Materials:

1. Online application form
2. Two academic references
3. Transcripts
4. Degree certificate/s (if awarded)
5. Curriculum Vitae
6. CSE Studentship Form
7. English language qualification

Applications which are not complete by the deadline will not be considered for the studentship scheme. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the application form and documents are received by the relevant deadlines.

All applications must be submitted online, along with the supporting documents as per the instructions on the website.

Please ensure that all email addresses, for yourself and your referees, are correct on the application form.

Project / Funding Enquiries

Application enquiries to
Closing date for applications – 21st January 2019

Funding Notes

This research project is one of a number of projects in the College of Science and Engineering. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project that receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding.

Home/EU Applicants:

This project is eligible for a fully funded College of Science and Engineering studentship that includes:

• A full UK/EU fee waiver for 3.5 years
• An annual tax free stipend of £14,777 (2018/19)
• Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)

International Applicants:

This project is eligible for a College of Science and Engineering studentship that includes:

• A full international fee waiver for 3.5 years
• Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)

International candidates must be able to fund their living costs for the duration of the studentship.


1. Qu et. Al, “Fast radiative transfer parameterisation for assessing the surface solar irradiance: The Heliosat-4 method”, Meteorologische Zeitschrift 26, 33-57 (2017).
2. Power in Indonesia, Investment and taxation Guide. Novemeber 2016-4th Ed., PwC Indonesia (
3. Solar energy resource data provided by the World Bank Group (WBG) in 2017, which consists of SSI data, air temperature, and PV output calculations from 1999 (or 2007 for some locations) to 2016.

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