The dark side of photovoltaic - 3D simulation of glare assessing risk and discomfort
Photovoltaic (PV) systems form an important force in the implementation of renewable energies, but as we all know, the force has always its dark side. Besides efficiency considerations and discussions about architectures of power distribution networks, the increasing numbers of installations of PV systems for implementing renewable energies have secondary effects. PV systems can generate glare due to optical reflections and hence might be a serious concern. On the one hand, glare could affect safety, e.g. regarding traffic. On the other hand, glare is a constant source of discomfort in vicinities of PV systems. Hence, assessment of glare is decisive for the success of renewable energies near municipalities and traffic zones for the success of solar power. Several courts decided on the change of PV systems and even on their de-installation because of glare effects. Thus, location-based assessments are required to limit potential reflections and to avoid risks for public infrastructure or discomfort of residents. The question arises on how to calculate reflections accurately according to the environment's topography. Our approach is founded in a 3D-based simulation methodology to calculate and visualize reflections based on the geometry of the environment of PV systems. This computational model is implemented by an interactive tool for simulation and visualization. Hence, project planners receive flexible assistance for adjusting the parameters of solar panels amid the planning process and in particular before the installation of a PV system.