Paper Conference

Proceedings of SimBuild Conference 2012: 5th conference of IBPSA USA


Towards Validated Urban Photovoltaic Potential and Solar Radiation Maps Based on LiDAR Measurements, GIS Data, and Hourly DAYSIM Simulations

J. Alstan Jakubiec, Christoph F. Reinhart
Building Technology Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Abstract: We present a method for generating detailed geometric urban massing models combined with building footprint and material information from large GIS datasets and LiDAR elevation measurements. An example model for the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA that contains over 17,000 buildings is used as input for annual solar radiation calculations using the RADIANCE / DAYSIM simulation engine. Based on hourly irradiance calculation results, we find it possible to make recommendations for PV placement on a building and to intelligently determine the total and useful roof area of buildings. Simulation results are compared to those typically used in practice to produce solar radiation maps of other US cities. It is found that the presented method yields better geometric accuracy and higher irradiation predictions compared to previous methods. This results in increased predicted PV energy production at lower installation costs and more accurate estimates of useful rooftop area.
Pages: 628 - 637