DLR launches solar atlas to identify rooftop PV potential in Germany

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From pv magazine Germany

The DLR has developed a new online open-access solar atlas that can help homeowners and solar companies to identify location that could potentially host PV systems in Germany.

The EO Solar platform uses aerial photographs and geodata to determine solar energy potential for Germany's entire building stock of around 20 million units.

“For data protection reasons, it is not possible to map individual buildings on a publicly available website in Germany,” the DLR said. “Therefore, the photovoltaic potential is shown at the municipal, district or federal state level.”

Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, chair of the DLR Executive Board, noted the need for accurate data on existing and potential solar system installations to formulate effective expansion strategies.

“The solar atlas shows how earth observation can be used successfully for climate protection and a sustainable growth of energy generation,” said Kaysser-Pyzalla.

The atlas is based on several terabytes of data from the Earth Observation Center (EOC), including digital, distortion-free aerial photographs with a resolution of 20 cm and high-resolution surface models with a resolution of 1 meter provided by the Federal Office for Cartography and Geodesy.

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The platform calculates the possible electrical output based on the hours of sunshine, the radiation intensity, the roof orientation and the shading from neighboring buildings or vegetation. In addition, a process based on artificial intelligence identifies rooftops with installed solar modules throughout the world from high-resolution remote sensing data.

“In Germany, we have included the market master data register. The database contains all registered solar systems on a daily basis,” the DLR said.

EO Solar does not use building models, but digital surface models of terrain, such as those generated with the help of aircraft and satellites. These models automatically take into account shading from trees and the surrounding terrain. In addition, the process can be expanded to countries that do not have building models.

The DLR said that its solar atlas maps the entire country in an up-to-date and systematic manner. Existing solar cadasters in the federal states or municipalities are usually not as detailed and only relate to certain areas. DLR scientists have already created a similar map for Austria.

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