Mapping the Solar Potential of Rooftops: Germany’s SUN-AREA Research Project Uses GIS

p30p1-450…from the Fall 2009 issue of ArcNews

Highlights:

  • Using ArcGIS Desktop tools, researchers identified all necessary rooftop data.
  • ArcGIS Desktop ModelBuilder was used to determine the solar potential of all roof areas.
  • The ModelBuilder application gave the team an intuitive interface.

“The solar age has dawned in Germany. About 20 percent of the country’s rooftops are suitable for solar power production, according to recent results from the SUN-AREA Research Project. The project aims to determine how solar energy resources can be optimized by placing photovoltaic panels on rooftops around the country.

“The SUN-AREA project is sponsored by the University of Osnabrück and the TOPSCAN topographical information company. It is led by geomatics engineer Martina Klärle and researchers Dorothea Ludwig and Sandra Lanig.

“Preliminary findings of the SUN-AREA project estimate that, at full potential, solar power could meet the entire energy needs of homes throughout Germany. The team began its work with an examination of the northern German city of Osnabrück.”

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