Large scale use of solar panels in cities

Research Themes: Energy, Social Impact, Software Technology & Intelligent Systems

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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Summary of the project

Solar panels are a well-developed technology for capturing light and delivering renewable electricity. They are easy to install and can be placed almost everywhere. One of the biggest challenges for installing these panels is finding enough and the right space to do so, especially in highly urbanized environments such as the city center of Amsterdam. Besides the space or location challenge, there are also a lot of unanswered questions about the stability of the grid when so many panels are installed and how these panels conflict with solving other challenges such as peaks in rainfall for which a lot of green or blue roofs are being developed. The researchers aim at developing a model that takes all these challenges into account but that can still create insight in the potential for placing solar panels on roofs. Through 3D modelling, simulations, and calculations on the possible yield in a given geographical area, the researchers have developed a prototype that combines different layers of information through which it can create such insights needed to further accelerate the deployment of more solar panels in cities. 

What's next?

The next step for this innovative idea is to offer a similar service to other cities and grid companies. For this purpose, the start-up company PV Works B.V. has been founded.

Contribution to the Energy transition?

The system that is being developed allows municipalities, grid companies or house owners to get insight in the potential for capturing solar energy in an urban environment.