Keynote Speakers

AbuBakr S Bahaj
Affiliation : University of Southampton
Title : Head of the 55 strong Energy & Climate Change Division (ECCD)
Lecture : Potential of Solar Power Generation from Cities

Professor AbuBakr S Bahaj is Head of the 55 strong Energy & Climate Change Division (ECCD) at the University of Southampton, where he completed his PhD in 1982, progressing from a researcher to a Personal Chair in Sustainable Energy.  For more than 25 years, Professor Bahaj has pioneered sustainable energy research, and established the energy theme within the University by creation of the Sustainable Energy Research Group (SERG) considered to be one of the UK’s leading University-based research groups in renewable energy and energy demand reduction. The aims of ECCD and SERG are to promote and execute fundamental and applied research and pre-industrial development in the areas of sustainable energy resources, their technologies, improvements in energy efficiency and assessment of the impact of climate change on buildings. This work also includes study of local communities (urban and rural) and cities encompassing urban energy systems, microgeneration technologies, demand reduction, utilising ICT in the monitoring of building performance and user behaviour. 

Under the leadership of Professor Bahaj, SERG has been involved in research projects in the UK, as well as in China, the Middle East and Africa.  He co-ordinated the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) EcoRegion research networks aimed at developing research themes and projects to study eco-city developments encompassing resource assessment, technology pathways for the production and conservation of energy, planning, as well as social and economic studies required in establishing eco regions in China and elsewhere. Professor Bahaj has undertaken consulting work for various local and government departments, looking at sustainable development of the urban built environment including urban regeneration, combined heat and power and carbon assessment and reduction at local community and city levels. He is a member of the British Standards Institute (BSI) Committee GEL/82 on Photovoltaic (PV) Energy Systems, the founding and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Marine Energy, Associate Editor Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (2008 – 2014), on the Editorial Boards of the journals of Sustainable Cities and Society and the International Journal Sustainable Built Environment, Renewable Energy (2005-2011) and UK’s Institution of Civil Engineers Journal “Energy” (2006-2009).

Professor Bahaj’s research interests also span marine energy technologies covering both wave and tidal energy conversion encompassing resource assessment, electrical power generation technologies and energy yield optimisation from farms and arrays. Fundamental work includes design and optimisation of turbines, model scale testing (including work on dual rotor tests) device/device interactions and feasibility studies for site utilisation encompassing arrays of devices, their impacts and quantifying energy yields.  In 2007, he was invited to deliver the prestigious RSA Sigma President’s lecture, chaired by HRH Prince Phillip “Energy from the Oceans” and in 2008, at the invitation of the International Energy Agency, completed the status report on tidal stream energy conversion.   Professor Bahaj has been the keynote speaker at many national and international conferences was chair of the European Wave & Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC) 2011 in Southampton, was a member of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Supervisory Board (2005-2010). In PV Prof Bahaj invented the world’s first solar powered refrigerated trailer, and is now leading on innovative concept on energy for development whereby community centred solar energy is used to bring electricity to communities in developing countries with all the concomitant benefits, such as education, medical facilities clean water and entrepreneurship.  The first projects, in Kenya and Cameroon, are now a proven success and similar projects are under construction in other impoverished, remote areas such as, Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique. His major research programmes can be found at including Cities and Infrastructure, Data and Modelling, Energy and Behaviour, Energy and Buildings, Energy for Development,  Environmental Impacts, Microgeneration Technologies and Renewable Energy (Solar Photovoltaics and Marine Energy).

Professor Bahaj’s work has resulted in over 270 articles, published in academic refereed journals and conference series of international standing.  To address education and training needs in the areas of energy and climate change, Professor Bahaj developed two MSc programmes – MSc Energy Resources & Climate Change and MSc Energy, Environment & Buildings.

In 2012, Professor Bahaj was appointed Chief Scientific Advisor to Southampton City Council – believed to be the first such appointment in the UK. In 2014, he was appointed to the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) Research Advisory Group, whose primary aim is to provide independent scientific advice to the Chief Scientific Advisor who advises the Minister on all activities of DFID. In January 2014, The UK’s Science Council named Prof Bahaj as one of the UK’s 100 leading practising scientists.

Prof Bahaj is currently a visiting professor at the University of Uppsala, Sweden and holds the King Salman ben Abdulaziz Chair for Energy Research at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Currently more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities and this is projected to rise to 60% by 2030, adding ~1.4 billion more people than today. An increasing number of the world’s population is migrating to cities to take advantage of concentrated economic activities and perceived prosperity. In high-income countries today over 78% of the population live in cities and these urban residents are generally the wealthiest and longest-lived citizens. This is in stark contrast to low-income countries where wealth in much lower and the urbanisation rate is projected to rise from 46% to 64% of the population by 2050. Meeting the needs of this changing demographic situation will be challenging for cities.

Cities impose closer living and working conditions and provide inhabitants optimised infrastructure that supports productivity and drive long term economic growth. It is this infrastructure that is identified here to provide opportunities for city-wide electricity generation at scale. Specifically, the use of unutilised building surfaces for the integration and deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for power generation which can be used locally or transmitted to the national grid. This presentation will report on this aspect of our work on energy and cities. It will report on the development of an efficient and accurate methodology that estimates the solar radiation to the nearest square metre within a city. It provides more realistic estimates in the context of spatially dense building areas such as those encountered in cities, automatically identifying individual roof areas that are practical for standard PV installation and for aggregating such areas on a city scale. The modelling has been applied to the case of the city of Southampton, UK (>30000 buildings) and demonstrated a high level of accuracy, being consistently capable of recognising roof areas that are south-facing, unshaded and having sufficiently large contiguous areas to ensure optimised appropriate PV deployment.  Our analysis indicates that Southampton city can annually produce over 25% of its electricity from such PV deployments. Implications to other cities and regions will also be discussed within the presentation.