A practical method for considering shading on photovoltaics systems energy yield

Victor Vega-Garita*, Veronica Alpizar-Gutierrez, Joel Alpízar-Castillo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Along with the widespread adoption of solar energy, it is fundamental to develop methods and tools that help practitioners during the design phase of photovoltaic (PV) systems. Currently, multiple commercial software can quantify a particular location's annual energy yield while including the horizon's shading effect (e.g., mountains, buildings, and trees). To do so, precise information about the PV system's surroundings is necessary. This information is gathered by specialized equipment or by having access to satellite imagery. Therefore, to offer a more practical approach, we propose a method that requires only a cellphone camera, a fixed point for taking a panoramic photograph, and a compass. Once the panoramic image is taken, the obstacles’ width, height, and altitude are calculated, and the skyline is built. With this information, the method correlates the position of the sun with meteorological data to include the effect of shading on direct irradiation. The method was tested using one–year meteorological data to determine the best orientation of a PV system. The image processing method and the general method were validated by getting PV power generation data and aerial images and comparing them to the method's predictions. Therefore, we introduce a method that, with low computational complexity, facilitates the study of shading on the performance of PV systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100412
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management: X
Publication statusPublished - 2023


The authors thank Harold Moreno for providing the aerial images used to verify the results provided by the proposed method. Moreover, this investigation was carried out under the research project "Detección de fallas, control e integración de sistemas de energías renovables no convencionales con almacenamiento energético para redes inteligentes” number C1467 of the University of Costa Rica.


  • PV-designing method
  • PV-modeling
  • Shading analysis
  • Skyline


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