INTERGRATION OF LiDAR DATA WITH AERIAL IMAGERY FOR ESTIMATING ROOFTOP SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC POTENTIALS IN CITY OF CAPE TOWN
Keywords: LiDAR Data, Aerial Imagery, Roof Extraction, Solar Photovoltaics
Abstract. Apart from the drive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by carbon-intensive economies like South Africa, the recent spate of electricity load shedding across most part of the country, including Cape Town has left electricity consumers scampering for alternatives, so as to rely less on the national grid. Solar energy, which is adequately available in most part of Africa and regarded as a clean and renewable source of energy, makes it possible to generate electricity by using photovoltaics technology. However, before time and financial resources are invested into rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in urban areas, it is important to evaluate the potential of the building rooftop, intended to be used in harvesting the solar energy. This paper presents methodologies making use of LiDAR data and other ancillary data, such as high-resolution aerial imagery, to automatically extract building rooftops in City of Cape Town and evaluate their potentials for solar photovoltaics systems. Two main processes were involved: (1) automatic extraction of building roofs using the integration of LiDAR data and aerial imagery in order to derive its’ outline and areal coverage; and (2) estimating the global solar radiation incidence on each roof surface using an elevation model derived from the LiDAR data, in order to evaluate its solar photovoltaic potential. This resulted in a geodatabase, which can be queried to retrieve salient information about the viability of a particular building roof for solar photovoltaic installation.