Optimal Arrangement of Photovoltaic Panels Coupled with Electrochemical Storages

Significance Statement

Maximizing power generation using photovoltaic panels can be achieved by combining the perfect azimuth and tilt angle for a given site and climate throughout the year. Nonetheless, in many contemporary projects of sustainable buildings, the surface occupied by the photovoltaic cells is composed of subsurface of varying alignments and gradients. In already existing buildings, exploitation of all the available roof surface is necessary since there is little or no choice left at all. However, in new buildings the photovoltaic panels maybe hosted in different azimuth and tilt angles in order to maximize electricity generation with continuity during the day, by talking optimum advantage of surfaces inclined towards the sun in different periods of the day, with greater match with the demand time profile. In the latter scenario, the utmost purpose would be to maximize the building’s autarchy, even if at the cost of larger photovoltaic panel surface and hence a higher installation cost. However, the relevant decline in photovoltaic system costs and their consequent rapid spread are moving the attention from the achievement of the maximum areal electricity generation to a photovoltaic generation profile in agreement with building energy needs.

Italian researchers Antonio Carbonari and Massimiliano Scarpa from the University IUAV of Venice investigated various configurations of photovoltaic systems supported by electrochemical storages, aiming at the increment of electricity self-consumption, considering climates in two different cities: Venice and Trapani. They compared various configurations of the photovoltaic system by means of computer simulations. Their research work is now published in Energy Procedia.

Carbonari and Scarpa began by defining the ideal photovoltaic panel configuration for the two localities. The consequent photovoltaic generation was then compared with the ones characterizing other configurations, derived from actual projects. The research team then considered a case study consisting of a residential building typical of the Italian suburbs. Eventually, two possible orientations of the building’s main axis and consequent possible photovoltaic panel arrangements were considered and compared from various points of view: electricity generation and life cycle assessment of primary energy.

They observed that for buildings having greater surface exposed according to the ideal arrangement provide a higher yearly electricity yield thus, in the case study, the East-West of the building’s main axis is slightly more convenient than the North-South orientation in terms of annual electric generation and consequent payback time of the plant.

The study successfully presented a comprehensive analysis of various configurations of photovoltaic systems supported by electrochemical storages, aiming at increase of electricity self-consumption in two Italian climates. From this analysis, it is possible to deduce that the use of storage system allows to increase significantly the degree of self-consumption of the building, therefore its self-sufficiency.

Optimal Arrangement of Photovoltaic Panels Coupled with Electrochemical Storages-Renewable Energy Global Innovations
Fig. 7. Venice E-W orientation, uses of generated electricity and imports during the year [kWh/month], without storage (a) and with storage (b).

About the author

Antonio Carbonari he graduated in architecture from 1983 at the University IUAV of Venice, is Assistant Professor in the field “Building’s Physics” from 1997 at the same University in the Department of Design and Planning in Complex Environments

Research interests: analysis of urban energy demand, buildings energy balance and solar radiation: energy and luminous aspects, acoustic of interiors.


Antonio Carbonari, Massimiliano Scarpa. Optimal arrangement of photovoltaic panels coupled with electrochemical storages. Energy Procedia, volume 113(2017) pages 35-42.

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