School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


Dr Diane Palmer

Photo of Dr Diane Palmer

Research Associate


Diane Palmer is a Research Associate at CREST.  Her specialisations are Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and the photovoltaic (PV) energy conversion chain.

Since joining CREST in 2013, she has generated National Solar Profiles for the UK, India, Bahrain and Cyprus. These employed weather-station and satellite data as inputs. She has analysed output for utility-scale solar systems and for domestic installations. She developed methods of modelling rooftop characteristics for the household systems. Other projects have included site location of solar and wind farms and generating Typical Meteorological Years (TMY).

In her previous career, Diane’s research interests have included environmental modelling, land-cover mapping, socio-economic deprivation and health outcomes and spatial literacy.

Diane undertook her M.A. in IT and then M.Phil. in GIS at Nottingham University where she commenced her first research position. This involved the design and development of an online Geographical Information Systems course structured around inquiry-based learning.

Her next position was as the GIS trainer at the University of Sheffield to support the adoption of GI Science approaches for collaborative research across the University.  Diane has produced maps on every topic from migrating Neanderthals, ancient Greek artefacts and earthquakes in Asia to floods in the UK, deprived areas and dental decay in children.

Immediately before joining CREST, she was employed short-term at the University of Leicester, working as a member of a small team on the production of the UK CORINE land cover map 2012.  This involved developing and documenting a verification algorithm for the high resolution layers of the main land cover types. 

Whilst employed at Loughborough, Diane gained her Ph.D. by publication in Autumn 2019. Thesis title: “The Photovoltaic (PV) Energy Conversion Chain: Irradiation to Grid Impact”.


Diane's main research interests:

  • Meteorology for predicting and monitoring photovoltaic energy production.
  • Geographical Information Systems.
  • Satellite modelling.
  • Remote sensing.
  • Optimal location of power plants.
  • Solar potential analysis of rooftops.
  • Solar Irradiation Variability.
  • Typical Meteorological Years


  • Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for GIS.
  • ArcGIS
  • Spatial Statistics
  • GIS Training

Data resources used:

  1. Diane Palmer and Tom Betts, “Comparison of Typical Meteorological Year and On-site Measurements for Solar PV Site Selection”, in Proceedings 15th Photovoltaic Science, Applications and Technology Conference, 2019
  2. Palmer, Diane; Betts, Thomas; Gottschalg, Ralph, 2019, The future scope of large-scale solar in the UK: site suitability and target analysis, Renewable Energy, Volume 133, April 2019, Pages 1136-1146. URL:,
  3. Diane Palmer, Elena Koubli, Ian Cole, Tom Betts, Ralph Gottschalg, 2018. Satellite or ground-based measurements for production of site specific hourly irradiance data: Which is most accurate and where? Solar Energy, Volume 165, 1 May 2018, Pages 240–255, URL:,
  4. Diane Palmer, Elena Koubli, Ian Cole, Thomas Betts, Ralph Gottschalg, 2018, A GIS-Based Method for Identification of Wide area Rooftop Suitability for Minimum Size PV Systems Using LiDAR Data and Photogrammetry, Energies, Special Issue “Solar Photovoltaics Trilemma: Efficiency, Stability and Cost Reduction 2018”, 11, 3506, doi 0.3390/en11123506, URL:,
  5. Diane Palmer, Ian Cole, Tom Betts, Ralph Gottschalg, 2017, Interpolating and estimating horizontal diffuse solar irradiation to provide UK-wide coverage:  selection of the best performing models, Energies, Special Issue “Solar Photovoltaics Trilemma: Efficiency, Stability and Cost Reduction 2017”, 10, 181; doi:10.3390/en10020181, URL:,
  6. Diane Palmer, Elena Koubli, Tom Betts and Ralph Gottschalg, 2017, The UK Solar Farm Fleet: A Challenge for the National Grid?, Energies 2017, 10(8), 1220; doi:10.3390/en10081220, URL:,
  7. Cole I.R., Palmer D., Goss B., Koubli E., Betts T.R., Thomson M., Gottschalg R. Impact Analysis of Irradiance Dataset Selection on Photovoltaic System Energy Yield Modelling. 1st Int. Conf. Large-Scale Grid Integr. Renew. Energy India, Bombay. 2017, URL:
  8. Ruben Urraca, Ana M Gracia-Amillo, Elena Koubli, Thomas Huld, Jörg Trentmann, Aku Riihelä, Anders V Lindfors, Diane Palmer, Ralph Gottschalg, Fernando Antonanzas-Torres, 2017, Extensive validation of CM SAF surface radiation products over Europe, Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 199, p. 171-186, URL:
  9. D. Palmer, E. Koubli, I. Cole, T. Betts and R. Gottschalg, 2016, Comparison of Solar Radiation and PV Generation Variability: System Dispersion in the UK, IET Renew. Power Gener., Volume 11, Issue 5, 12 April 2017, p. 550 – 557, DOI:  10.1049/iet-rpg.2016.0768 , Print ISSN 1752-1416, Online ISSN 1752-1424, URL:,
  10. Diane Palmer, Ian Cole, Thomas Betts, Ralph Gottschalg, 2016, Assessment of Potential for Photovoltaic Roof Installations by Extraction of Roof Slope from LiDAR Data and Aggregation to Census Geography, IET Renew. Power Gener., vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 467–473, 2016. doi 10.1049/iet-rpg.2015.0388. URL:,
  11. E. Koubli, D. Palmer, P. Rowley, and R. Gottschalg, 2016, Inference of missing data in photovoltaic monitoring datasets, IET Renew. Power Gener.,vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 434–43. DOI 10.1049/iet-rpg.2015.0355. URL:,
  12. B.Goss, I.R.Cole, E.Koubli, D.Palmer, T.R.Betts and R.Gottschalg. "Modelling and prediction of PV module energy yield", Chapter 5 in The Performance of Photovoltaic Systems: Modelling, measurement and assessment, ed. Nicola Pearsall, Woodhead Publishing, Novermber 2016.
  13. P. Rowley, P. Leicester, D. Palmer, P. Westacott, C. Candelise, T. Betts, and R. Gottschalg, “Multi-domain analysis of photovoltaic impacts via integrated spatial and probabilistic modelling,” IET Renew. Power Gener., vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 424–431, 2015.
  14. Diane Palmer, Ian R Cole, Brian Goss, Thomas R Betts, Ralph Gottschalg, 2015, Detection of roof shading for PV based on LiDAR data using a multi-modal approach, in 31st European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, 2015, p. 1753 – 1759,,
  15. Cole, E; Balzter, H; Smith, G; Ogutu, B; and Palmer, D. ‘Copernicus land monitoring service: the production of the pan-European components. A progress update of mapping land cover change in the UK’, Poster Paper for RSPSoc 2013, Glasgow, 4th- 6th September 2013.
  16. Hossain, M P; Palmer, D; Goyder, E; and El Nahas, A M. ‘Association of Deprivation with Worse Outcomes in Chronic Kidney Disease: Findings from a Hospital-Based Cohort in the United Kingdom’, Nephron Clinical Practice, 2012;120:c59–c70. [Impact factor 1.606]
  17. Hossain, M P; Palmer, D; Goyder, E; and El Nahas, A M. ‘Social Deprivation and Prevalence of Chronic Kidney Disease in the UK: Workload Implications for Primary Care’, QJM, 30 September 2011. [Impact factor 2.146]
  18. Palmer, D. ‘If you become a teacher, by your pupils you’ll be taught’,  ESRI EMEA Education User Conference, QEII Conference Centre, London, 27 October 2008.
  19. Palmer, D ; Wellens, J. ‘An Investigation into One-to-One Postgraduate Teaching of Spatial Literacy’, Working Paper, SPLINT CETL, 2008.
  20. Peters, J; Goyder, E; Blank, L; Ellis, L; and Palmer, D. ‘Toolkit to Address Inequalities in Access To Care’, Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Conference 2006.
  21. Shalaby, M T; Nabi, S; and Palmer, D. 'GIS as a Two-way Communication System for E-government in Nottingham', Pathways to Integration, Eighteenth Annual Symposium on GIS, Toronto, published by Geotec Media, 28-31 March 2004. [International refereed conference]
  22. Shalaby, M T; Modha, R; and Palmer, D. 'Collaborative Learning and Project Work in Postgraduate Studies', Advances in Technology-based Education: Towards a Knowledge-based Society, edited by Mendez-Vilas, Antonia and Mesa Gonzalez, JA, Badajoz, Spain,3-6 December 2003, ISBN 84-96212-09-2.
  23. Shalaby, M T; Tang, B Y; and Palmer, D. 'The Use of the WebQuest Technique to promote Self-Directed Learning in Postgraduate Studies'Proceedings of TEL '03 Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, edited by Grew, Philip and Giorgio Valle, published by Hugony Editore, Special Issue of IS Informatica and Scuola, Milan, Italy, 20-21 November 2003, pp 333-344, ISSN 1721-9477.
  24. Shalaby, M T; Palmer, D; ‘The ‘Intelligent Map’ as a Decision Support System for Urban Planners in Nottingham Using GIS Technology’, Proceedings of the 4th Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture and Urban Planning Conference, Maastricht, published by Eindhoven University of Technology, MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands, pp.1-13, July, 1998, ISBN 90 6814 081 7.   [Refereed Conference Proceedings]
  25. Shalaby, M T; Palmer, D; ‘An ‘Intelligent Map’ for Monitoring Recycling Centres in Nottingham Using GIS’, Proceedings of GIS ‘98/RT ‘98Twelfth Annual Symposium on GIS, Toronto, published by Adams Business Media, New York, pp. 271-273, 6-9 April 1998. [Refereed Conference Proceedings]