What is a Sun-path Diagram?
A sun-path diagram is a chart that illustrates the sun's location in the sky at any point of time during the day, and throughout the year at a single reference point. The sun-path diagram allows the sun's azimuth and tilt to be read off the chart, which allows the position of the sun can be determined.
How is a Sun-path Diagram Useful?
In the context of a PV system design, a sun-path diagram is useful in:
- Determining the optimal orientation of a solar array.
- If we also map a shade mask (i.e. the shading cast from surrounding obstructions such as buildings, trees, power poles, chimneys) onto the sun-path diagram, we can then determine when there will be shading experience by the PV system throughout the year.
Other uses of studying the sun-path include:
- Designing more energy efficient buildings. For example the sun-path can help an engineer/architecture determine the placement of windows, awnings, shutters to control the amount of lighting and thermal gain from sunlight.
- Designing passive solar buildings.
- Facade shading device analysis.
- Solar obstruction assessment.
MCS Sun-path Diagram [UK Only]
The Sun-path diagram for the UK users will be different than the one shown above. The diagram for the UK sites is generated as per the MCS requirements:
How to Generate a Sun-path Diagram on OpenSolar?
The sun-path diagram is provided in our Shade Report. Please read the steps here on how to generate a shade report on OpenSolar in this article here.
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