Home / News & Videos / News / Alternative Energy /

Measuring the Solar Energy Potential of City Roofs

Measuring the Solar Energy Potential of City Roofs

May 22, 2020

Alternative Energy

The Times of Israel — As Israel’s Energy Ministry considers raising the country’s 2030 renewable energy target from 17% to 30% and increasing solar panel usage throughout the country, BGU researchers have developed a system designed to maximize solar energy by helping urban planners identify optimal locations for solar panels on rooftops.

Prof. Arnon Karnieli

A team led by Prof. Arnon Karnieli, head of BGU’s Remote Sensing Laboratory, at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, and Prof. Isaac Meir (Sakis), member of the Department of Structural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Sciences, successfully mapped the entire city of Kiryat Malachi with 97% accuracy.

This is the first time an entire city has been mapped to such a high level of accuracy.

The team measured the potential for photovoltaic solar energy installations in an urban environment with flat and pitched roofs, at different angles of slope and pointing in different directions.

Because of the complex geometry of roofs, they needed very high-resolution data with which to create an algorithm that could classify buildings.

Prof. Isaac Meir (Sakis)

Drawing from combined data from an orthophoto of Kiryat Malachi (ortho-rectification corrects aerial photos geometrically so that the scale is uniform) and a LiDAR map (LiDAR uses laser light and sensors to measure distances), they produced an aspect slope map that can be used with 97.39% accuracy to determine the direction and degree of slope of all the roofs across the city.

This data is important for determining the potential for solar energy absorption. Their research findings were published in the journal Remote Sensing.

Last July, the Energy Ministry and the Electricity Authority launched a campaign to persuade Israelis to erect solar panels on domestic roofs to help reduce pollution.

At that time, there were around 13,000 solar paneled roofs, the vast majority of which were used in agricultural, commercial or industrial facilities. The aim is to double the number of roofs by the end of this year.

Read more on The Times of Israel > >