Solar3D: An Open-Source Tool for Estimating Solar Radiation in Urban Environments
ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Solar3D is an open-source software application designed to interactively calculate solar irradiation on three-dimensional (3D) surfaces in a virtual environment constructed with combinations of 3D-city models, digital elevation models (DEMs), digital surface models (DSMs) and feature layers. The GRASS GIS r.sun solar radiation model computes solar irradiation based on two-dimensional (2D) raster maps for a given day, latitude, surface and atmospheric conditions. With the increasing availability
... easing availability of 3D-city models and demand for solar energy, there is an urgent need for better tools to computes solar radiation directly with 3D-city models. Solar3D extends the GRASS GIS r.sun model from 2D to 3D by feeding the model with input, including surface slope, aspect and time-resolved shading, which is derived directly from the 3D scene using computer graphics techniques. To summarize, Solar3D offers several new features that—as a whole—distinguish this novel approach from existing 3D solar irradiation tools in the following ways. (1) Solar3D can consume massive heterogeneous 3D-city models, including massive 3D-city models such as oblique airborne photogrammetry-based 3D-city models (OAP3Ds or integrated meshes); (2) Solar3D can perform near real-time pointwise calculation for duration from daily to annual; (3) Solar3D can integrate and interactively explore large-scale heterogeneous geospatial data; (4) Solar3D can calculate solar irradiation at arbitrary surface positions including on rooftops, facades and the ground.