Solar Intensity Calculations - Pager Power
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Solar Intensity Calculations

Solar Intensity Calculations
July 22, 2019 Mike Watson


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.

solar intensity calculations

Figure 1 Artist’s impression of European Southern Observatory building, Garching, Germany

Who can be affected?

Typically assessments can be undertaken for:

  • Pilots
  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Drivers of trains and trams
  • Road users
  • Pedestrians
  • People at home
  • People at work

What sort of developments can cause effects?

Solar Intensity Calculations can be undertaken for:

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
  • Reflectivity

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?

Pager Power has published Glint and Glare guidance and has undertaken over 400 glint and glare assessments. For more information please contact Mike Watson at Pager Power on +44 1787 319001.


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