Estimating solar access of typical residential rooftops: A case study in San Jose, CA

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Shadows cast by trees and buildings can limit the solar access of rooftop solar-energy systems, including photovoltaic panels and thermal collectors. This study characterizes rooftop shading in a residential neighborhood of San Jose, CA, one of four regions analyzed in a wider study of the solar access of California homes.High-resolution orthophotos and LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) measurements of surface height were used to create a digital elevation model of all trees and buildings in a 4 km2 residential neighborhood. Hourly shading of roofing planes (the flat elements of roofs) was computed geometrically from the digital elevation model. Parcel boundaries ... continued below

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Levinson, Ronnen M.; Gupta, Smita; Akbari, Hashem & Pomerantz, Melvin March 3, 2008.

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Shadows cast by trees and buildings can limit the solar access of rooftop solar-energy systems, including photovoltaic panels and thermal collectors. This study characterizes rooftop shading in a residential neighborhood of San Jose, CA, one of four regions analyzed in a wider study of the solar access of California homes.High-resolution orthophotos and LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) measurements of surface height were used to create a digital elevation model of all trees and buildings in a 4 km2 residential neighborhood. Hourly shading of roofing planes (the flat elements of roofs) was computed geometrically from the digital elevation model. Parcel boundaries were used to determine the extent to which roofing planes were shaded by trees and buildings in neighboring parcels.In the year in which surface heights were measured (2005), shadows from all sources ("total shading") reduced the insolation received by S-, SW-, and W-facing residential roofing planes in the study area by 13 - 16percent. Shadows cast by trees and buildings in neighboring parcels reduced insolation by no more than 2percent. After 30 years of simulated maximal tree growth, annual total shading increased to 19 - 22percent, and annual extraparcel shading increased to 3 - 4percent.

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  • Solar 2008, San Diego, CA, May 3 - 8, 2008

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  • Report No.: LBNL-381E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 937453
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc896592

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • March 3, 2008

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Jan. 4, 2017, 5:39 p.m.

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Levinson, Ronnen M.; Gupta, Smita; Akbari, Hashem & Pomerantz, Melvin. Estimating solar access of typical residential rooftops: A case study in San Jose, CA, article, March 3, 2008; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc896592/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.