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Techno-economic analysis for constructing solar photovoltaic projects on building envelopes

journal contribution
posted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by George Li, Chunlu LiuChunlu Liu
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Solar energy applications in buildings are crucial to urban sustainable development and commercial energy investment. Increased environmental and economic awareness, coupled with local governmental incentives, inevitably causes a growth in construction of photovoltaic (PV) projects. Previous studies extensively explored and developed life cycle energy assessment and costing analysis for payback times of rooftop PV systems. This paper presents a new methodology that combines a life cycle cost (LCC) approach and a pixel method for visualising economic performances of constructing PV projects. The time of recovering the expenditure invested in a PV project is then considered a main economic indicator and is formulated mathematically in the pixel unit representing an actual area of 3 cm × 3 cm in an empirical study. A building model derived from a real student accommodation is then chosen as a case study in this paper. The 3D visualisation demonstrates a potential investment return for placing each solar panel on a specific site over roofs and facades. The proposed contour lines of economic returns also illustrate the optimum ranges for constructing potential PV projects with desirable payback periods during their lifetimes. Results reveal that the façade installation is sometimes competitive with the roof-top installation. This study will benefit designers and construction managers in determining the optimal solution of implementing the rooftop and façade PV systems in the phases of design and construction.



Building and environment




37 - 46




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Elsevier