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A model for predicting the potential diffusion of solar energy systems in complex urban environments


  • La Gennusa, Maria
  • Lascari, Giovanni
  • Rizzo, Gianfranco
  • Scaccianoce, Gianluca
  • Sorrentino, Giancarlo


The necessity to reduce greenhouse gases emission produced by energy building consumptions and to cut the energy bill (mainly due to the use of fossil sources) leads to the employment of renewable energy sources in new planned scenarios. In particular, more and more often municipal energy and environmental plans pay great attention to the possibilities of employment of the solar technologies at urban scale. Solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) systems are, by far, the most suitable tools to be utilized in urban areas. Obviously, the proper adoption of such systems in buildings does call for the availability of calculation methods suitable to provide the actual level of exploitation of solar energy in urban layouts. In this work, a procedure for evaluating the geographical energy potential of building roofs in urban areas is proposed; in particular, the amount of surface on the roof that could be used for the installation of systems able to capture solar radiation for the energy production is investigated. The proposed procedure is based on the use of the GIS technology and 3D cartography. The effectiveness of the proposed method is assessed by means of an application to the town of Palermo (Italy).

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  • La Gennusa, Maria & Lascari, Giovanni & Rizzo, Gianfranco & Scaccianoce, Gianluca & Sorrentino, Giancarlo, 2011. "A model for predicting the potential diffusion of solar energy systems in complex urban environments," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 5335-5343, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:9:p:5335-5343

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sanyé-Mengual, Esther & Romanos, Héctor & Molina, Catalina & Oliver, M. Antònia & Ruiz, Núria & Pérez, Marta & Carreras, David & Boada, Martí & Garcia-Orellana, Jordi & Duch, Jordi & Rieradevall, Joan, 2014. "Environmental and self-sufficiency assessment of the energy metabolism of tourist hubs on Mediterranean Islands: The case of Menorca (Spain)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 377-387.
    2. Marta Olazabal & Unai Pascual, 2013. "Identifying social determinants of urban low carbon transitions: the case of energy transition in Bilbao, Basque Country," Working Papers 2013-11, BC3.
    3. Ilaria Delponte & Corrado Schenone, 2020. "RES Implementation in Urban Areas: An Updated Overview," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(1), pages 1-14, January.
    4. L. M. Fernández-Ahumada & J. Ramírez-Faz & R. López-Luque & A. Márquez-García & M. Varo-Martínez, 2019. "A Methodology for Buildings Access to Solar Radiation in Sustainable Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(23), pages 1-17, November.
    5. Capellán-Pérez, Iñigo & de Castro, Carlos & Arto, Iñaki, 2017. "Assessing vulnerabilities and limits in the transition to renewable energies: Land requirements under 100% solar energy scenarios," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 760-782.
    6. Košir, Mitja & Capeluto, Isaac Guedi & Krainer, Aleš & Kristl, Živa, 2014. "Solar potential in existing urban layouts—Critical overview of the existing building stock in Slovenian context," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 443-456.
    7. María-Eugenia Polo & Mar Pozo & Elia Quirós, 2018. "Circular Statistics Applied to the Study of the Solar Radiation Potential of Rooftops in a Medium-Sized City," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(10), pages 1-16, October.
    8. Sánchez-Braza, Antonio & Pablo-Romero, María del P., 2014. "Evaluation of property tax bonus to promote solar thermal systems in Andalusia (Spain)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 832-843.
    9. de Castro, Carlos & Mediavilla, Margarita & Miguel, Luis Javier & Frechoso, Fernando, 2013. "Global solar electric potential: A review of their technical and sustainable limits," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 824-835.
    10. Fang, Wei & An, Haizhong & Li, Huajiao & Gao, Xiangyun & Sun, Xiaoqi & Zhong, Weiqiong, 2017. "Accessing on the sustainability of urban ecological-economic systems by means of a coupled emergy and system dynamics model: A case study of Beijing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 326-337.
    11. Theodoridou, Ifigeneia & Karteris, Marinos & Mallinis, Georgios & Papadopoulos, Agis M. & Hegger, Manfred, 2012. "Assessment of retrofitting measures and solar systems' potential in urban areas using Geographical Information Systems: Application to a Mediterranean city," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(8), pages 6239-6261.
    12. Byrne, John & Taminiau, Job & Kurdgelashvili, Lado & Kim, Kyung Nam, 2015. "A review of the solar city concept and methods to assess rooftop solar electric potential, with an illustrative application to the city of Seoul," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 830-844.
    13. Mayr, Dieter & Schmidt, Johannes & Schmid, Erwin, 2014. "The potentials of a reverse auction in allocating subsidies for cost-effective roof-top photovoltaic system deployment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 555-565.
    14. Fichera, Alberto & Frasca, Mattia & Volpe, Rosaria, 2017. "Complex networks for the integration of distributed energy systems in urban areas," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 336-345.
    15. Angelamaria Massimo & Marco Dell'Isola & Andrea Frattolillo & Giorgio Ficco, 2014. "Development of a Geographical Information System (GIS) for the Integration of Solar Energy in the Energy Planning of a Wide Area," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(9), pages 1-15, August.


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