The city of Dresden in Germany has created new digital tools with the aim of helping its private residents adopt solar energy. Two interactive maps of the city have been published – one 3D and one standard – to provide a visual overview of the suitability of individual houses for roof or facade photovoltaics.
The maps were developed by the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Spatial Development Dresden using tools for solar potential analysis developed at the Technical University of Munich. Both resources are free and readily available to all so that they may ascertain the optimal method of integrating green energy into their building profile. The city hopes that this will boost technology adoption by offering residents clear cost-benefit analyses.
City officials have used the maps to attempt to calculate Dresden’s solar potential – the potential maximum energy that the 135,583 buildings could produce. They concluded that the theoretical output of the city would be approximately 1,900-gigawatt hours of solar energy – including 400-gigawatt hours coming from facades – per year. As that estimate includes protected buildings and areas with a low power output that would be unprofitable to use, a more realistic estimate was calculated showing the production of just 500-gigawatt hours per year. The mapping also showed the potential for the expansion of facade-mounted installations. Although on average they are less profitable than roofs as they receive less direct sunlight, in some cases they can still be profitable and contribute to decarbonisation and generating more renewable energy.
According to the city’s Environmental Mayor Eva Jähnigen, as the city’s overall energy consumption is currently 2,500 gigawatts per year, maximizing photovoltaics throughout the city could lead to an easy 20% reduction in consumption.