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With climate change and global warming emerging as major concerns, clean energy is what most of the economies are caring about, especially in the urban setup. Urban buildings offer lots of opportunities for mounting photovoltaic panels, but which ones have the highest cost/benefit ratio? One of the factors that strongly affect the efficiency of solar power generation in cities is shading from other buildings and trees. How much shading occurs depends on the angle of the sun at various times during the year. Calculating all the variables can be a complex and costly process.

Researchers at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands say they have developed new methods that permit fast and accurate calculations of the energy potential of building surfaces in an urban environment — information that can be vitally important to architects and urban planners.

According to a research paper published recently in the journal Nature Energy, the university’s Photovoltaic Materials and Devices group claims to develop a software toolbox that can precisely calculate the energy yield of PV systems at any location.

Olindo Isabella, head of the PVMD group, says, “Our fast approach integrated into software tools for calculating the solar energy potential can significantly facilitate design and distribution of buildings with integrated PV systems in urban planning frameworks. It will also help investors to take decisions on integrating PV systems in buildings and other urban locations.”

The toolbox calculates the amount of irradiation a spot receive annually, which will help the interested to calculate if deploying solar panels would be beneficial or not. The study shows the use of modern technology will significantly reduce the computational complexity of the problem while yielding accurate results.

Access data will assist all interested parties to determine where solar panels can be mounted within an urban environment to produce maximum electricity naturally. This would save money and will also maximize solar energy generation throughout an entire city.

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Source - Cleantechnica
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