What if half of Switzerland’s rooftops produced electricity?
Researchers at EPFL are assessing Switzerland’s solar power potential. Their results show that photovoltaic panels could be installed on more than half of the country’s 9.6 million rooftops. The resulting power would meet more than 40% of Swiss electricity demand. The widespread installation of photovoltaic panels on building rooftops could play an important role in Switzerland’s transition to a low-carbon energy system. Until now, however, the overall photovoltaic (PV) potential of Swiss rooftops could not be estimated accurately owing to a lack of data about buildings and their environments, along with wide margins of error arising from existing calculation methods. To fill that gap, researchers at EPFL’s Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory (LESO-PB) have developed a methodology combining machine learning algorithms with geographical information systems and physical models to estimate PV potential. And, for the first time, they estimated hourly profiles of PV potential. Their results have been published in Applied Energy. More information.