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Investigating solar energy potential in tropical urban environment: A case study of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Journal article
Authors Kevin Ka-Lun Lau
Fredrik Lindberg
Erik Johansson
Maria Isabel Rasmussen
Sofia Thorsson
Published in Sustainable Cities and Society
Volume 30
Pages 118–127
ISSN 2210-6707
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 118–127
Language en
Keywords Solar energy potential; Urban morphology; Solar irradiance; Developing countries
Subject categories Physical Geography


Solar energy is considered to be an alternative sustainable energy source in the urban environment. The potential of using solar energy in urban areas is highly dependent on urban morphology which affects the level of solar irradiance received by individual buildings. Many studies focus on solar energy potential of building form in urban areas but relatively few studies examine how urban morphology affects solar energy potential of urban neighbourhoods. It leads to inefficient design of neighbourhoods in terms of solar energy potential. The present study investigates the potential of exploiting solar energy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania by using numerical modelling of solar irradiance on building roofs and façades. It is shown that there is substantial solar irradiance received by building roofs in all four study neighbourhoods and urban morphology has considerable effects on annual solar irradiance. Solar irradiance of different orientations of tilted roofs and façades is subject to seasonality of the solar azimuth angle. It is suggested that such abundant solar energy sources would provide solutions to accommodate the increasing energy demand and to improve living quality in urban areas due to the rapid urbanization of the city.

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