In an effort to aid the energy transition and meet the Paris agreement goals, the City of Amsterdam wants to take a step forward by deploying photovoltaic (PV) technology on buildings. However, currently the municipality and house owners are not fully aware of the real PV potentials on their roof-tops and of the challenges they will be facing when exchanging energy with the Low Voltage (LV) grid.

Therefore, the real solar panel implementation potential on roof-tops in Amsterdam – considering the city's local grid infrastructure – should be assessed.


3.250.000 solar panels on A'dam roofs?

Urban Energy

There are about 500,000 solar panels on Amsterdam’s roofs. This could be at least 7 times as many: 3,25 million.


The urban solar panel puzzle

Urban Energy

If you have a house, you have a roof and you can install solar panels. But if your ambition, like Amsterdam, is to push the transition towards renewable energy by having a million solar panels installed, it becomes a large-scale urban planning puzzle.

“The project is facilitating a concrete and usable tool and insight to help Amsterdam to speed up solar panel integration in the city, which is lagging behind. For a first, it is integrally assessing the PV potential (spatial and economically), its electric grid integration, natural installation moments and alternative roof purposes.”

Paul Voskuilen

Program Developer Urban Energy

Buildings represented in 3D with every surface indicating high (white) and low (red) irradiation. The coloured lines represent the high (white), medium (orange) and low (blue) voltage grid.

PV energy yield considering grid components
In this project an accurate solar panel potential map is created, indicating the maximum possible PV energy yield per building, considering all surfaces receiving sufficiently high irradiation.

Furthermore, a grid impact model will test how much generated power the grid can actually take in from each building cluster, before problems will arise for the relevant grid components.

“Additional conflicting aspects for PV adoption are considered, such as natural installation moments as well concurrent roof purposes. To illustrate, roof reconstructions could already be planned and in many cases Amsterdam's roofs are currently used as terraces.”

Maarten Verkou

Former Research Fellow at AMS Institute

Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data is used to identify building roof surfaces for which the annual PV yield is calculated using a simplified skyline-based model from the TU Delft.

A solar panel installation calendar
Ultimately, a solar panel installation calendar, indicating the ideal time for building clusters to start implementation of PV systems in certain districts of the city, will be the main outcome from this project.

A 3D visualization will show how the city appearance will change over the years with increasing PV penetration levels.

A 3D visualisation indicating high and low irradiation on the rooftops of buildings with the ZIP code 1074 in the South district of Amsterdam.

  • November 2019 - December 2020

Principal Investigators

Project members

Maarten Verkou

TU Delft


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)