Solar photovoltaic design tool for non-residential buildings: From blueprints to arrays

Andrew Grossman, Yunhua Ding, Richard Lunt, André Bénard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the United States, approximately 65 × 109 square-feet of underutilized rooftop space could be appropriated for the installation of solar photovoltaic systems. Although several programs are available that assist in designing a photovoltaic (PV) system, a planning tool that can take an adaptive modeling approach towards capitalizing on the complex geometry of a rooftop does not exist. We therefore focus on the development of a parametric planning tool for retrofitting rooftops with solar photovoltaic systems. The solar planning tool exploits the existing blueprint of a building's rooftop, and via image processing, the layouts of the solar photovoltaic arrays are developed based on the building's geographical location and typical weather patterns. The resulting energy generation of a PV system is estimated and is utilized to determine the leveled energy costs. The advantage of incorporating image processing in the design of a PV system not only reduces the time required for performing a robust solar PV analysis but also enables a high-level of dimensional precision when modeling the solar arrays, thus making a rooftop solar photovoltaic system installation ultimately more cost-effective. This paper demonstrates the planning tool and verifies the output array layout, sizing of the balance of system components, and expected energy generation with the existing rooftop photovoltaic systems.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Article number035501
JournalJournal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Profile

Blueprints
Planning
Image processing
Retrofitting
Costs
Geometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

Cite this

Solar photovoltaic design tool for non-residential buildings : From blueprints to arrays. / Grossman, Andrew; Ding, Yunhua; Lunt, Richard; Bénard, André.

In: Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, Vol. 8, No. 3, 035501, 01.05.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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