Spatial layout optimization for solar photovoltaic (PV) panel installation

Qing Zhong, Daoqin Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The worldwide growing demand for energy has imposed much pressure on energy supply and the environment. Solar energy, as one of the clean and renewable resources, provides a great potential for helping to meet the growing energy demand and reduce the environmental impacts. How to make the best use of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system has received much attention in recent years. Integrating geographic information systems (GIS), this paper proposes a new spatial optimization problem, the maximal PV panel coverage problem (MPPCP), for solar PV panel layout design. Suitable installation areas are first delineated in GIS. Then the MPPCP is used to identify the best spatial configurations of multiple PV panels. Different orientations and alignment scenarios are incorporated in the model to account for installation constraints while achieving the goal of maximal energy production. The new problem is applied to locate solar PV arrays on a rooftop with limited suitable installation areas. Results show that flexible panel alignments increase the maximal energy production by up to 6%. Model performance and computational efficiency are discussed. The research provides important insights into the spatial layout design of solar PV panels at various scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalRenewable Energy
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Layout design
  • Maximal covering problem
  • Solar PV panel installation
  • Spatial optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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