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Sky view factor as predictor of solar availability on building façades

Chatzipoulka, Christina, Compagnon, Raphael, Kaempf, Jerome, Nikolopoulou, Marialena (2018) Sky view factor as predictor of solar availability on building façades. Solar Energy, 170 . pp. 1026-1038. ISSN 0038-092X. (doi:10.1016/j.solener.2018.06.028) (KAR id:68863)


Solar availability on urban façades varies signifcantly, affected by obstructions by nearby buildings as well as orientation. A convenient way to evaluate their solar energy potential is deemed to facilitate the task of architects in increasing the use of photovoltaic systems and, thus solar energy generation in the urban environment. This study explores to what extent the sky view factor (SVF), a measure of the openness of a point to the sky, can be employed for evaluating solar irradiation of façades in complex urban scenes. For this purpose, extensive statistical analysis was performed testing the correlation of SVF with solar irradiances for 30 orientations, considering three European climates (i.e. Athens, London and Helsinki), and three periods (i.e. year, January and July). Special emphasis is put on global irradiance, which expresses the sum of three solar components, i.e. direct, diffuse and reflected. The study uses 24 urban forms - of 500 × 500 m area - in London for which SVF and solar irradiance simulations were performed for nine sky models (three locations by three periods). The results reveal a strong linear relationship (R2 > 0.8) between SVF and annual global irradiance in all orientations, at all three locations. In fact, as SVF was found to correlate well with both major solar components, direct and diffuse, it can be presumably used for predicting façades' annual solar irradiation at any location within the tested range of latitudes. With respect to monthly global irradiance, the relationship appears less consistent, affected by the increased sensitivity of the relationship of SVF with monthly direct irradiance to façade orientation and location's latitude, associated with the variations of solar altitude.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.solener.2018.06.028
Uncontrolled keywords: Solar potential, Solar indicator, Sky view factor, Urban façades, Orientation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Marialena Nikolopoulou
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2018 21:33 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 03:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Chatzipoulka, Christina.

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Nikolopoulou, Marialena.

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