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Solar energy on building envelopes – 3D modelling in a 2D environment

Journal article
Authors Fredrik Lindberg
Per Jonsson
Tsuyoshi Honjo
Dag Wästberg
Published in Solar Energy
Volume 115
Pages 369-378
ISSN 0038-092X
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 369-378
Language en
Keywords GIS, Raster modelling, Vegetation, Sweden
Subject categories Physical Geography, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


A new model, Solar Energy on Building Envelopes (SEBE) for estimating shortwave irradiance on ground, roofs and building walls is presented. SEBE adopts a 2D raster modelling approach to derive 3D irradiance information, which makes it possible to compute extensive areas up to city scale. High resolution digital surface models (DSMs) are used to describe the urban geometry and additional DSMs including 3D vegetation structures can also be incorporated. Inclusion of vegetation is shown to be essential when modelling irradiances for wall surfaces within the urban environment. To obtain a detailed description of input forcing conditions, the model utilizes observed hourly data of shortwave radiation as meteorological input information. The model is evaluated for a tilted roof as well as for a wall location in Göteborg, Sweden. The overall performance of the model is high, both for the roof and wall evaluation point. Application of the model is exemplified by 3D visualisation and city scale model output presentation.

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