SOL:AR Beställarstöd för solenergiinvesteringar genom avancerad visualisering
The solar energy business has developed rapidly in Sweden in recent years, but so far most companies and individuals have chosen to install solar cells on roofs. Another relatively unexplored resource that we argue offer potential and where we see an emerging trend for various solar solutions, is building facades. In contexts where lack of space prevents building new or standalone solar energy installments, facades can still be used for a range of purposes, e.g., generating renewable solar power and/or provide space for shading devices and thereby reduced demand for cooling. In the SOL:AR project we have investigated how a future digital visualization tool could make it easier for clients who are considering solar solutions, including categories of products like solar cells, building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and solar shading. How could a digital tool give a quick insight into e.g., the profitability of solar cells or a solar shading solution on a certain façade, and how would these look aesthetically? A long term aim in the project is to stimulate the development of facades as a resource that opens for new opportunities for solar solutions. Through interviewing potential target groups like property owners and other key actors about their needs and requests regarding a digital tool, mapping out technical possibilities as well as legal and organizational aspects, we have investigated the prerequisites for such a tool. We have identified property owners as our primary target group, and in particular medium-sized property owners with commercial buildings, although there seems to be an increasing interest in solar solutions also in tenant owners’ associations and apartment buildings. In total, at least 30 people from property companies, trade organizations, solar energy companies, governmental
agencies, and urban planning offices have participated in our interviews and workshops respectively and contributed their thoughts and needs about how a digital visualization tool could create value in the procurement of solar solutions for facades. The results from the study suggest that a digital visualization tool could create value for property owners if it triggers the interest for solar solutions early in a renovation-/rebuilding process; is easy to use for people regardless of role at the property company or tenant owners’ association; can provide an idea of how a certain solar solution would look along with an estimation of economic and environmental benefits (rather than exact calculations); can support the communication about solar solutions between property owners and tenants; can be used “in the field” at a certain building as well as in the office; is owned by a neutral actor and is free of charge for property owners to use. Together with insights from the technical state-of-the art mapping and legal issues, we have gathered these user-oriented insights in a list of requirements for a future tool. To conclude the project, we conducted a workshop with invited actors from the visualization and solar shading industry to secure the relevance of the technical requirement list and identify further important questions for a future development phase. Future challenges include identifying a neutral owner for the tool, identify a reasonable payment model, as well as implementing the tool step-wise while waiting for necessary technical advances in the area of augmented reality and 3D data respectively.