The solar industry is currently booming in Australia and a growing number of companies are providing solar power panels installation services all around the country ( See Wikipedia article for additional information on Solar power in Australia).

To maximize the electricity output of solar panels, their optimal position has to be determined by taking into account a range of parameters such as the tilt and heading of a roof as well as the shade cast by the surrounding environment. Several analysis tools and solar insolation maps (with different degrees of accuracy) are available to solar energy installation companies to assist them in the decision making process. 

The use of these tools gives any reputable solar company a good knowledge of a potential client’s property prior to signing a contract but does not replace the need for a physical inspection.

Based on the SEES-Solar Energy from Existing Structures system developed by the Gothenburg University, AEROmetrex has been able to calculate and produce an accurate solar insolation map covering more than 2200 Km2 over Adelaide and surrounding area.

Annual solar insolation over Adelaide University based on the SEES system and 7 years of meteorological data

This map has been generated using a 0.5m Digital Surface Model which includes man-made and natural features such as terrain, trees, houses and seven years of historical meteorological data (including global, direct and diffuse solar radiation with a temporal resolution as high as 30min from sunrise to sunset) from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

For new building developments, annual solar insolation maps up to 5cm resolution can also be generated using aero3Dpro models to determine with unprecedented accuracy the annual irradiance over the roof of a potential building.

direct illumination time over one day using aero3Dpro model over North Adelaide, Australia

Integrated into a 3D navigation tool, accurate measurements of roof surface, length and tilt can be extracted to make the installation planning easier.  Multiple attributes can also be associated with each roof.

The productivity of solar panels can be  heavily impacted by the shade cast by trees and transform what could have been a good investment into a nightmare. (see Solar Shade Act for Australia?).

Shadow analysis and impact on solar PV panels productivity using aero3Dpro 3D models

It is getting harder and harder to choose a solar PV panel installer. Make sure you do your homework and also ask questions before signing any contracts. Before making a physical inspection of your property, solar companies can get access to reliable tools to assess your roof.  Make sure they do.