The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLVIII-1-2024
10 May 2024
 | 10 May 2024

Towards Sustainable Urban Energy: A Robust Deep Learning Framework for Solar Potential Estimation

Weiyan Lin, Jiasong Zhu, Yuansheng Hua, Qingyu Li, Lichao Mou, and Xiao Xiang Zhu

Keywords: Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), Roof Orientation Prediction, Solar Potential Estimation

Abstract. Rooftop photovoltaic is considered as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution to energy challenges in urban areas. To ensure photovoltaic efficiency, it is essential to accurately estimate rooftop solar potential and deploy solar panels wisely. During the past few years, deep learning-based estimation methods have emerged and mainly rely on inferring rooftop orientations from aerial imagery. However, we note that rooftops often appear diversely when images are taken at different solar azimuths, and this can lead to orientation misclassification. To address this, we propose a robust solar potential estimation framework, mainly composed of a rooftop orientation prediction network and a bilateral solar potential estimation module. Specifically, we first classify rooftops into five orientations, i.e., east, west, south, north towards, and flat with a semantic segmentation network. Afterward, opposing orientations are merged to alleviate misclassification caused by variant data acquisition time. Eventually, we compute solar potentials based on PVGIS and a weighting scheme. Experimental results on the RID dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in improving the accuracy of solar energy estimation.