New developments such as glass buildings and solar PV systems can cause significant solar reflections. In extreme cases these can overheat people or cause temporary blindness. Solar intensity calculations allow planners to determine whether reflections from a new development will be acceptable.
Figure 1 Artist’s impression of European Southern Observatory building, Garching, Germany
Who can be affected?
Typically assessments can be undertaken for:
- Air Traffic Controllers
- Drivers of trains and trams
- Road users
- People at home
- People at work
What sort of developments can cause effects?
Solar Intensity Calculations can be undertaken for:
- Solar PV Developments – Fixed
- Solar PV Developments – Tracking
- Other Solar Developments
- Statues & Sculptures
- Car Parks
How do Solar Reflections affect people?
Solar reflections can cause objects or people to overheat – particularly when reflectors are arranged so that reflected light is concentrated.
Solar reflections can also cause temporary blindness (similar to the effect when looking directly at the sun) as well as distraction.
What factors affect Solar Intensity?
There are a number of factors including:
- Geographic Latitude
- Atmospheric attenuation
- Arrangement of reflectors
- Angle of incidence
When do Solar Reflections occur?
The timing of reflections is dependent on the sun’s position which varies continuously. Reflections sometimes only occur for a few minutes a year at specific times and dates which can be predicted.
Are there specific situations where Solar Intensity Calculations are required?
Requirements vary from case to case – however calculations are often required for the following:
- Developments near airports
- Developments near road and railway junctions
- Developments with convex glass
- Large solar schemes
- Solar tracking systems
- Reflecting developments having an unusual shape
- Buildings with sloping glass
How can Pager Power help?
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