Modeling Urban Solar Energy with High Spatiotemporal Resolution
thesisposted on 2021-05-22, 12:49 authored by Annie Chow
Alternative sources of energy are being sought after in the world today, as the availability of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources are declining. Solar energy offers a promising solution to this search as it is a less polluting renewable energy resource and can be easily converted into electricity through the usage of photovoltaic systems. This thesis focuses on the modeling of urban solar energy with high spatiotemporal resolution. A methodology was developed to estimate hourly solar PV electricity generation potential on rooftops in an urban environment using a 3-D model. A case study area of Ryerson University, Toronto was chosen and the incident solar radiation upon each building rooftop was calculated using a software tool called Ecotect Analysis 2011. Secondly, orthophotos of the case study area were digitized using Geographic Information Systems in order to eliminate undesirable rooftop objects within the model. Lastly, a software tool called HOMER was used to generate hourly solar PV electricity estimates using the values generated by the other two software tools as input parameters. It was found that hourly solar PV output followed the pattern of a binomial curve and that peak solar generation times coincided with summer peak electricity consumption hours in Ontario.