The design orientation and shading impacts on rooftop PV economics in the urban environment: a case study in Melbourne, Australia

  • YEAR
    Zhao, Hongying
    Yang, Rebecca
    Wang, Chaohong
    Mudiyanselage, Pabasara Wijeratne
    2018 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science: Building Assessment and Evaluation
    Conference Papers


To deal with the environmental and energy issues, many researchers found high potential of adopting building photovoltaic (PV) systems in urban areas, especially on building rooftop. However, the optimal energy output performance is impacted by the usable roof area, layout of PV arrays, and shading ratio considering high city density. This study aims to understand the impacts of design orientation and shading in the urban environment on rooftop PV’s economic performance. This study carries out a case study in Melbourne with 15 PV designs under three shading conditions to generate a total of 45 scenarios. Through lifecycle cost analysis including net present value (NPV), NPV per kW and payback year (PB) the results show the best and worst design scenarios under different shading conditions and the maximum shading loss that makes NPV become zero. This study reveals that in Melbourne: For buildings facing north, the rooftop PV system should also be oriented north to achieve the best economic performance. If the building orientation is 20 degrees counter-clockwise from true north, the recommended azimuth angle of the PV system is 10 degrees towards east. In order to enhance the ability to sustain shading loss, the azimuth angle of PV system is also suggested to be 10 degrees towards east.


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