Zonatlas

Dutch company Zonatlas will calculate Solar potential of building facades

Dutch company Zonatlas will calculate Solar potential of building facades

The technological development of new generation solar panels is making great leaps forward. Think of solar cells in roof tiles, windows that generate solar energy or flexible solar panels on various rooftop surfaces. All these techniques are developing rapidly.

The facades of buildings can also generate solar energy. The technology behind this type of solar modules is currently under development. Zonatlas can put her advanced software to use and calculate the potential of solar energy on building facades. Similar to what Zonatlas has already done for all the rooftops in the Netherlands.

Ready for the future

Although lots of rooftops can provide a sufficient source of solar energy for most consumers, there are a high number of buildings that cannot. If you look at big cities, there are big apartment buildings or offices that have large surface areas on their facades, but a (relatively) small roof. To cover their energy needs in the future, we might also need to start using the facades of these buildings.

One of the partners of Zonatlas participated in a pilot to calculate all the buildings in the city of Senne (Germany). This pilot concluded that facades could harvest twice the amount of solar energy as all the rooftops combined. This relates mostly to cities, and therefore the potential is huge!

Calculations

The calculations that have already been done are making use of a 360° analysis of all the buildings. The technology of Zonatlas makes it possible to then view the entire building in 3D. Similar to what Zonatlas does with individual rooftops, the effect of shades and obstructions that might influence the solar yield will be calculated.

In Senne (Germany) the calculations showed that about 20% of the facades are suited for solar modules. When you take into consideration that buildings most often only have one side with an optimal position towards sun, this percentage is higher than anticipated.

Next step of Zonatlas

Because Zonatlas calculated all the rooftops in the Netherlands, its logical next step is to calculate the facades of all buildings in the Netherlands. Municipalities and their inhabitants make frequent use of Zonatlas in finding their optimal solar installation. Due to the independent insight provided by Zonatlas, both consumers and companies can soon start to think about using not only their roofs, but also their facades for generating solar energy.