Researchers at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have developed new methods that permit fast and accurate calculations of the solar energy potential of building surfaces in urban areas.
Researchers say their software toolbox can accurately calculate the energy yield of PV systems at any location. The technology determines the amount of irradiation received annually at a particular spot in any urban landscape.
The annual irradiation is derived from a composite of the sky view factor and the sun coverage factor. This can be determined from a skyline profile of any city.
The study shows the use of these two parameters significantly reduces the computational complexity of the problem while yielding accurate results more quickly than traditional computation tools. The tool can determine where solar panels can be placed within an urban environment to produce the maximum amount of electricity possible at any given location. It can also eliminate installations that are less efficient over the course of a year than desired.