Evaluation of the influence of the urban context on the available solar radiation for energy generation

Abstract In this work a methodology was developed to evaluate the influence of urban context on the usable solar radiation for energy generation through photovoltaic modules on building envelope. The methodology is based on computer simulations using the programs Diva-for-Rhino and EnergyPlus. Two Brazilian cities with different climate were selected for the study: Florianopolis and Fortaleza. Different urban contexts were defined considering buildings with uniform height (Uniform Context) and random height (Random Context). Through the analysis of solar radiation on the building envelope the influence of shading on energy generation for the different office building types was determined. In addition, strategies for PV application on building envelope through the detailed analysis of available solar radiation were developed. The results showed that within an uniform context PV modules are a good option for energy generation. For buildings up to 6 floors enough energy can be generated to achieve an equalized annual energy balance. For this context the area with highest potential for energy generation is the roof. For the random contexts the facades of the high-rise buildings are an interesting option for PV application as well.