UBC Undergraduate Research

Roof Solar Potential at UBC : Assessing Suitability of Campus’ Building Roofs for Solar Energy Capture Nicoletti, Leonardo


When implemented in the right location, solar energy provides many benefits. UBC, Vancouver campus, has extensive roof area that could be used for implementation of solar energy facilities such as Photovoltaic solar arrays. However, whether it is beneficial to implement these facilities depends on a variety of influencing factors. This study provides an assessment of UBC campus and its spatial, architectural, and geographical attributes to determine the suitability of UBC rooftops for implementation of solar energy capture facilities. The first part of this study, the roof suitability study, provides a brief analysis of suitability of UBC roofs for PV solar arrays by taking into consideration the urban form of UBC campus only. The second part of the study, the solar suitability study, consists of a simulation of the sun’s behavior over UBC in generally clear sky conditions, calculating solar radiation for each m² of campus area for the year of 2018. UBC’s urban form, its geographical location and geoclimatic zone, atmospheric conditions, and monthly changes in the sun’s behavior are taken into consideration. Solar radiation maps are provided as well as estimates of total yearly solar radiation that could potentially be captured by UBC’s roof area. Finally, the study provides a solar suitability index, ranking all 537 UBC roofs from most suitable for solar energy facilities to least suitable for solar energy facilities. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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